After being outscored 32-4 in their last five games, all losses, the Madison Mallards finally had a big inning go their way on Saturday night as they defeated the Waterloo Bucks 6-4 before a crowd of 2,245 at Warner Park.
After a scoreless two innings, the Mallards exploded for four runs in the third inning off Buck’s starter Danny Muegge. After second baseman Steve Sanfilipo and shortstop Dominic Ramos walked, designated hitter Erik Johnson came back to the lineup in a big way, ripping a two run double to left field to give the Mallards a 2-0 lead. Johnson had been out with a bad knee.
Center fielder Madison Edwards then slashed a double off first baseman Phil Pilewski’s glove at first base to put the Mallards ahead 3-0. The double also knocked out Muegge (5-3), who had dominated the Mallards in his previous start.
Third baseman Mike Settle then concluded the big inning for the Mallards with an RBI double off Waterloo reliever Justin Allred to score Edwards to give the Mallards a 4-0 lead.
After a Buck’s scored one run in the fourth, the Mallards answered right back in the fifth on Johnson’s third RBI of the night, a triple to score first baseman Mike Lorenzo to put the Mallards in front 5-1.
Mallard’s starter Bill Bernabei was very effective until tiring in the seventh. He gave up three runs in that frame before being relieved by J.J. Jackson, who pitched out of further damage.
The Mallards added an important insurance run in the eighth on an RBI groundout by Edwards to give the Mallards a two run lead at 6-4, a lead they would not relinquish.
Bernabei picked up the win for the Mallards to improve to 3-2 on the season. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, though only two earned, on seven hits while walking two and striking out six. Jackson pitched the final 2 1/3 innings and struck out four for his second save on the campaign.
The Mallards (8-21 in the second half, 21-40 overall) look to take the series from Waterloo tomorrow night at the Duck Pond. Game time is set for 6:05pm.