The defending Northwoods League Champion Madison Mallards picked up the 2005 season the same way they ended the 2004 season, with a victory; defeating the Mankato MoonDogs 4-1 Wednesday night in front of 5,164 people at the Duck Pond.
The Mallards (1-0) prevailed behind solid pitching performances by starter Adam Mills and reliever Tim Gudex. Mills threw six innings, allowing just one run on a solo home run by Robert Rodebaugh in the second inning. Mills finished the game scattering six hits while striking out six. Gudex relieved Mills in the seventh with a runner on base, but kept the MoonDog bats at bay for the final three innings, allowing only one runner to reach base for the remainder of the game en route to his first victory of the season.
MoonDogs starting pitcher Tyson Brummet silenced the Madison bats through the first five innings of play, but the Mallards came alive offensively in the sixth and seventh innings. 2004 NWL All-Star Ryan Rogowski?s two-out triple to the wall in the sixth inning scored Dan Melvin to put the Mallards on the board and tie the game at one. Rogowski finished the game two-for-four with an RBI.
In the seventh inning, the Mallards put a three-spot on the board as Melvin, second baseman Ryan Bond and centerfielder Kyle Murphy added RBI?s to give the Mallards the lead for good at 4-1.
Melvin made the most of his night at the plate in his Mallards debut going two-for-three with a run and a RBI.
The Mallards and MoonDogs are back in action Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. for the finale of their two-game series. The Mallards send 2003 Mallard returnee, Jake Hansen to the mound to counter Brandon Thomson of the MoonDogs. For tickets please call the Mallards at 246.4277 or visit the Mallards online at www.mallardsbaseball.com.