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Ducks Pick Up Win in Key Game

The South Division?s battle for the post-season really heated up on Saturday night as the Madison Mallards picked up a key 5-1 win over the Waterloo Bucks in Waterloo. The win moved the Ducks into a tie with La Crosse for the final playoff spot in the south, after La Crosse was defeated by Rochester 1-0 in La Crosse.

The Mallards got on the board first, scoring early in the second. Mike Rohde opened the frame with a walk but was retired on Bobby Hubbard?s fielder?s choice. Mitch Saum followed with a single, moving Hubbard to second, but the next batter, Randy Molina, struck out. With two outs Gary Arndt picked up an RBI single, scoring Hubbard and giving the Ducks a 1-0 lead.

Still leading 1-0 in the fourth, the Mallards went to work again. Rohde led of with a single and moved to second after Hubbard walked. The next batter, Saum, struck out but a double steal moved both runners up 90 feet. Molina (top left) followed with a long fly to center, allowing Rohde to tag up and score to give the Mallards a 2-0 lead.

But the Mallards still weren?t done, adding three more runs in the seventh. Jordan Wolf led off with a double and moved to third on a play that saw Jordan Comadena reach on a throwing error. Wolf would score shortly thereafter on a passed ball, giving the Ducks a 3-0 lead. Comadena was then able to steal third and scored on Saum?s sacrifice fly. The Mallards would add one more before the frame was over, giving the boys from Madison all they would need to salvage a series split with Waterloo.

The Bucks gave the Ducks a bit of a scare in the ninth, scoring once and loading the bases on Mallards newcomer Chris Spangler, but Manager C.J. Thieleke made the call to the bullpen and Mike Creevy, who quickly retired two Bucks to end the game.

Aside from the ninth, the Bucks’ best chance to score came in their half of the fourth. Robert Matlock led off with a single and moved to second on a throwing error by the left fielder, Wolf. Jeff Lanning followed with a single, advancing Matlock to third. Then Mallards starter Casey Baron bore down. He got Shea Robin to strike out and Jeff Whitlow to send a grounder to third. The third baseman Saum came up firing on the play to nail Matlock, who was off on contact, at the plate. A flyout later the Bucks threat was over and the Mallards still held the lead.

Baron (pictured below) worked seven shutout innings en route to his fourth win of the season.

The Mallards return home on Sunday, August 6, to take on the Wisconsin Woodchucks. The Ducks invite all fans to stop out to the Duck Pond for the World?s Largest First Pitch. The first 5,000 fans will receive a Mallards baseball with which to go on the field and throw a ceremonial first pitch. Gates will open at noon and live music from the Kissers will keep fans entertained until the start of the night?s game. All fans will receive a Mallards team poster, courtesy of Verlo Mattress Factory.

Order your tickets now by visiting www.mallardsbaseball.com or calling 246.4277.