A night after the bats produced season highs in runs and hits for a game, it was the Mallards pitching that helped the team to it’s fourth win in five games with a 4-3, 12-inning win at Mankato against the MoonDogs.
Starting pitcher Craig Meier allowed the first four Mankato batters to reach base, with one run scoring. Meier then struck out the next three Mankato hitters while the bases were loaded. In five innings, the Verona, WI native allowed five hits, one earned run, hit a batter and struck out six.
The Mallards tied the game at one in the fourth inning. Randy Molina led off with a double down the first base line. Mike Rohde bunted him to third, where he scored on Mitch Saum’s fly ball to right field.
Madison took the lead in the seventh as Kris Rochelle singled to left with one out. Rochelle stole second and scored on Jordan Comadena’s two-out single to left to give the Mallards a 2-1 lead.
It appeared the Mallards would put the game away. However, Mankato was able to tie the score in the ninth with two outs. Reliever Brett Scarpetta issued a one-out walk to Mankato’s Chris Henault. Henault moved to second on a wild pitch. After Scarpetta struck out pinch hitter Ryan Manthei, he worked the count to 2-2 against Matt Mossey. On the ensuing pitch, Mossey fisted a soft liner towards second baseman Ryan Bond. The only chance bond would have to get Mossey at first was to scoop the ball to first baseman Randy Molina with his glove. Bond was unable to make a good flip and the ball rolled away. With no Mallards player chasing the ball, Henault was able to score from second and tie the game.
The Mallards grabbed the lead back in the 12th inning against Mankato reliever Jason Novak. Joe Oliver lined a single to left with one out. Brian Smith entered the game to run for Oliver. Comadena hit a grounder to second base that appeared to be a double play ball, but Mossey, the second baseman, had the ball bounce off his left wrist for an error. Bobby Hubbard followed with a single to left to load the bases. Bond struck out, bringing up Spencer Steedley. The Mallards’ center fielder lined a single to right, scoring Smith and Comadena and giving the Mallards a 4-2 lead.
Madison needed that fourth run. In the bottom of the 12th against Eryk McConnell, Mossey reached when hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. He moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a two-out single by Tim Smith. The Mallards intentionally walked the next batter, 2005 all-star Shane Buschini, to get to Adam Kampsen. McConnell got the Mankato third baseman to hit a come-backer and give the Mallards a 4-3 win in twelve innings.
McConnell earned the win to improve to 2-1 on the season. He worked in the 11th and 12th. In all, five Mallards pitchers toed the rubber (Meier, Jason Leaver, Mike Creevy, Scarpetta and McConnell).
Offensively, Rochelle and Oliver each had two hits for Madison.
The win gave the Mallards a 7-0 mark against the MoonDogs over the past two seasons (3-0 this year). Madison went 7-1 against Mankato in 2004. In all, Madison has a 29-10 all-time record against Mankato. The 29 all-time wins is the most for the Mallards against an opponent since joining the Northwoods League in the 2001 season.
The teams meet for the last time in the regular season Tuesday night at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato. First pitch is at 6:05. You’ll hear the game on Madison’s Fox Sports Radio 100.5 FM.