One breakdown inning of play was all it took Saturday for the Mallards to fall to the Bucks, as Madison surrendered its 3-1 lead in the top of the eighth inning to allow Waterloo the 5-3 victory, stemming from a four-run frame.
The Mallards (10-13) loss was their eighth in the past 11 games – most of which were one or two-run defeats.
The Bucks (10-13) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third off starting pitcher Justin Bristow. Adam Gaylord led off the inning with a single and was driven in two batters later by Travis Hendrix. The run was Bristow’s only allowed one of the night, but he left after four inning with soreness in his arm. His line read six hits, one run and two strikeouts.
Down one, the Mallards made a move in the next two innings, picking up three runs and overtaking the lead. In the fourth, Evan LeBlanc singled, increasing his hitting streak to four games, and later stole second and took third on a wild pitch. With two outs against Madison, LeBlanc rounded home on a second wild pitch to tie the game.
In the following frame, the first two batters, Neil Medchill and Russell Harben, advanced on a walk and a single, respectively. With Adam Pasono laying down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, Eric Nielsen and Bobby Stevens later came through to knock in back-to-back RBIs.
The Mallards took the lead into the eighth inning, and Dan Sorce relieved Jim Sajewich in the top of the frame. Sorce struggled to be effective as he allowed five hits, four runs and a walk to the Bucks, conceding the lead late in the game.
Madison had runners on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t cross any, ending the game 5-3.
Trying to regain some momentum heading into the end of the first half of the season, the Mallards will look to split the series with Waterloo, as the teams square off for the finale Sunday at 3:05 p.m.
Sunday is Ducks Unlimited Night. Mallards in camo uniforms. Madison Children’s Museum Night.