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Mallards outlast Express in Thriller

Not a dull moment came about in Thursday night?s contest between the Eau Claire Express and the Madison Mallards in front of 6,398 fans at Warner Park.

It took all of three hours and 38 minutes and came down to the final strike before Matt Petty and the Mallards held off the Express 10-9 in a nail-biter. Madison appeared to have the game under control entering the ninth inning with a 10-5 lead, but Eau Claire battled back in the ninth. Matt Petty finally finished off the Express, striking out Casey Garms on a three-two fastball with the bases loaded to end the game.

Eau Claire took a 4-0 lead on Rick Rivas in the third inning before Madison scored the next six runs of the game. Abe Aguirre came through with a two-out, two-RBI double in the fourth inning to pull the Mallards within one run at 4-3. The Mallards scored three more runs in the fifth inning and added four in the sixth to take a commanding 10-5 lead before the ninth inning dramatics.

Kris Rochelle, Mike Rohde and Abe Aguirre each had two-hit performances for the Mallards, with Aguirre knocking in two runs. Rivas weathered Eau Claire?s four-run outburst in the fourth inning and picked up the victory, improving his record to 6-2, while Matt Petty?s game ending strikeout earned him his ninth save in 2005.

With the Mallards victory, and Wisconsin?s 2-1 victory over Rochester earlier in the night, the Honkers, Mallards and Woodchucks are tied for first place in the second-half South Division standings with matching 14-10 records.

The Mallards send Jake Hansen (4-1) to the mound to take on the Wisconsin Woodchucks tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. at the Duck Pond. Great seats for tomorrow?s game are still available and can be purchased online at www.mallardsbaseball.com or by phone at 246.4277.