In a fitting microcosm for how the Mallards season has gone in 2004, the Mallards struggled initially, but rallied to take control Thursday night at the Duck Pond, their third win in a five-game homestand by finishing off the Mankato MoonDogs, 3-2 to secure a playoff spot and the South Division second-half championship. With a magic number of two going into the contest, meaning that any combination of Mallards? wins or losses by Waterloo would propel Madison into the playoffs, Madison did its part and Rochester?s 12-5 victory over Waterloo sprung the Mallards into postseason play. This will be Madison?s second postseason appearance in team history, and the second consecutive trip under Manager Darrell Handelsman.
Mankato scored one run in the second and fourth inning, and held a 2-0 lead through five innings. Madison responded with three runs of their own in the sixth, shutting down the MoonDogs from there. Jay Johnson led the Mallards offensively, going 1-for-4, tallying two RBIs. Nate Trumm scored on a bases loaded walk in that 3-run decisive sixth.
Ricky Bauer (7-2) dominated the MoonDogs, pitching seven innings of four-hit baseball. Bauer struck out six, and gave up two runs. Zach Peterson and Matt Petty contributed a scoreless inning of relief apiece, as Petty earned his seventh save of the season.
The second-half champs take on the Wausau Woodchucks in a two-game series beginning tomorrow at Warner Park. Game time for both contests is 7:05. The Mallards organization would like to remind fans to pre-purchase tickets for remaining home games online at www.mallardsbaseball.com, by phone: (608) 246-4277, or by stopping in our office located at 2920 N. Sherman Ave. Fans can purchase playoff tickets through the same venues. Four-game playoff ticket packages are currently through those same venues until 5 p.m. Single-game playoff tickets go on sale starting on Sat., at 10 a.m.