The Mallards were not able to produce enough offense Thursday night as Thunder Bay split the two game series against the Mallards with a 5-2 victory. Starting Border Cats pitcher Steven Vasquez threw six solid innings of work against Madison and allowed two earned runs on five hits.
Starting Mallards thrower Jim Sajewich is still looking for his first win of the ‘07 season as he went four and one third innings pitched allowing five runs, four of them earned. Vasquez earned his first win of the season and is 1-0, as Sajewich falls to 0-3.
The Border Cats got things rolling in the second inning as third baseman Chris Curley singled with one out and after advancing to second, infielder Brandon McCall homered off of Sajewich to give Thunder Bay the first lead of the game at 2-0.
Thunder Bay continued to keep Madison scoreless and piled on the runs in the fifth. Catcher Danny Benedetti singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a Sajewich wild pitch. After a Brandon McCall ground out Sajewich made the mistake of balking and allowing Benedetti to advance to third. Designated hitter Andrew MacDonald doubled to score Benedetti making it 3-0 Border Cats.
Following MacDonald’s double Marshall Davis reached on a Randy Molina error. Sajewich threw the second of two wild pitches in the inning advancing Davis to second with MacDonald still holding at third. Lead-off man Gabe Marchant singled scoring MacDonald and Davis, after five innings Thunder Bay led 5-0.
The Mallards would score their only runs of the game in the top half of the sixth. Bobby Hubbard lead off the sixth with a double and Evan LeBlanc followed with a single. After LeBlanc stole second, Randy Molina (pictured below) drove in Hubbard with a single. Mallard veteran Jordan Comadena grounded out to third scoring LeBlanc making it a 5-2 game.
From then to the end of the game the Mallards would only produce two hits, both coming from Daniel Webb.
The Thunder Bay bullpen held up their end as Jason Markovitz went one and two thirds innings pitched allowing no earned runs on one hit, and Border Cats closer Chris Manning picked up his seventh save of the year.
The Mallards drop to 16-18 as Thunder Bay improves to 13-21. Thunder Bay snaps their two game skid with the win and will head back on the road for a two game series against the Brainerd Blue Thunder. The Mallards move on to face the third different team on the recent road trip against St. Cloud for a weekend series.
In other Mallards news, right-handed pitcher Bubba O’Donnell and catcher Eric Nielsen will be representing the Mallards in Mankato for the 2007 Northwoods League All-Star Game.
O’Donnell is 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA and has 17 strikeouts in 25.1 innings pitched. His eight saves are third most in the NWL. Eric Nielsen is batting .318 with three doubles, six runs batted in and four stolen bases. He has appeared in 24 games as catcher and has only committed one error this season.