The Mallards lost their footing in Tuesday’s home ballgame against the Battle Creek Bombers, as Madison surrendered its one-run lead in the top of the eighth to the Battle Creek Bombers, who rallied for a 10th-inning victory.
The loss keeps the Mallards tied for second in the NWL South Division standings, as Wisconsin and Eau Claire also took defeats during Tuesday’s action. In its last 10 games, Madison is 3-7, while the first-place Green Bay Bullfrogs have won 10 in a row, giving the expansion team a five-game cushion on the pack.
The Mallards’ Trevor Feeney took the hill for Madison, coming in with the league’s fourth-best ERA of .47. The ace got in a bit of trouble, however, in the first, as the first two Bomber batters reached on a double and a walk, respectively. When Tony Sanchez stepped in the cleanup slot, his single to left scored David Seppelt for the first run of the game.
Sanchez struck again in the third, stepping into the batter’s box after his teammate, Clay Sartain, reached second on a double. Sanchez earned his second hit of the game, doubling to left to score Sartain to extend the Bombers’ lead to 2-0.
While being held scoreless through five full innings, the Mallards were forced to face the unstoppable Sanchez for a third time in the top of the sixth frame. Sanchez led off the inning and delivered his third hit and second double of the game off Feeney. John Delaney followed up the double with an RBI-single for the third unanswered run.
Despite being held to two hits during the same stretch and being down 3-0, the Mallards started chopping wood, cutting into the lead in the next two innings. In the bottom of the sixth, Jordan Comadena recorded a leadoff single and later stole second. After Randy Molina grounded out to advance Comadena to third with two outs against the Mallards, Battle Creek starting pitcher Tommy Elrod hurled a wild pitch to cut the deficit to two.
With a run under their belts, the Mallards stormed into the seventh with a new mentality. Eric Nielsen (pictured) took his first at-bat in the seventh, after he replaced Matt Behren in the top half of the inning. Nielsen came through with a single. Another reserve, Justin Bristow, pinch hit for third baseman Mitch Saum and drew a walk to put a runner in scoring position. The Bombers opted to make the call to the bullpen, replacing Elrod for Eric Lawrence. Lawrence met Brandon Wikoff, who laid down a bunt single to load the bases with no outs against Madison. A third reserve checked into the game, as Chris Roberts replaced Russell Harben. Roberts scored a runner, but grounded into a double play. With two outs, Bobby Hubbard stepped in for the Mallards and recorded Madison’s first triple of the season, scoring Bristow. Hubbard crossed for the go-ahead run after a balk was called on Lawrence.
The Mallards took the 4-3 lead into the top of the eighth, but Battle Creek wouldn’t yield so easily. Reliever Allan Donato relieved Feeney to start the inning and ran into early trouble. Donato met only two batters, who doubled and walked. Steve Gilgenbach replaced Donato with no outs on the board, attempting to get out of the jam and met none other than Sanchez. Gilgenbach forced the hot hitter into a double play, but Delaney singled to cross the game-tying run.
In the 10th inning, Sappelt drew a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Sappelt scored the eventual game-winning run later in the inning, coming from Sanchez’s infield single. The Bombers added an insurance run, but the Mallards were held scoreless in the bottom half of the inning to take the loss.
Three Mallards were tossed from the game, including two players, Brandon Wikoff (9th inning) and Justin Bristow (10th inning) and will be unavailable in the Mallards series finale against the Bombers.
For highlights of the game, download here.
Wednesday is FOX 47 The Simpson’s Night, which will feature the Mallards in the Isotopes uniforms, Simpson’s cover songs with the Outtatoons, great giveaways and Simpson’s trivia all night.
Wednesday is also Budweiser and The Brass Ring Pint Glass Series Night No. 3 (the first 1,000 fans 21 & over).