Madison Mallards (17-19) Vs. Eau Claire Express (18-18)
The Mallards enter the final leg of the longest road trip of the season starting a two game set with Eau Claire on Sunday. Madison and Eau Claire are off on the same foot to start the second half of the ‘07 season by both splitting two game series. The Mallards defeated first half North Division champion St. Cloud 7-6 and Eau Claire fell just short to first half South Division Champion Green Bay 5-4 on Saturday.
For the third time this season the Mallards and the Express meet in a two game set with Madison leading the season series 3-1. One of the more impressive factors that comes out of the season series is the Mallards overall pitching against the Express. The Mallards have a team ERA of 1.50 against the Express with just six earned runs and 33 strikeouts.
As for Eau Claire, they will have to improve upon a team batting average of .202 to compete with the Mallards pitching staff. All-Star Outfielder Kole Calhoun will be a offensive impact for the Express as he enters Sunday batting .254 and leading the Express with 21 runs scored, 11 doubles and is third on the Express squad with nine runs batted in.
Tyler Goodro is batting .284 (4-14) with one double against the Mallards and outfielder Pat Colwell is hitting .267 (4-15) with one run scored and a run batted in versus Madison pitching.
Both Eau Claire and Madison are playing identical baseball in July with their records even at 4-3. After four meetings this season the margin of victory between both teams averages no more than two runs.
As for the Mallards they have several hitters who have had consistent success against the Express in ‘07. Shortstop Justin Bristow is hitting an incredible .375 (3-8) with a home run and two RBI in two games against Eau Claire.
Daniel Webb is batting .364 (4-11) with three runs batted in and Jordan Comadena has more hits for the Mallards against the Express than anyone with five, including a double.
All-Star Eric Nielsen is still hitting above the .300 mark at .319 with three doubles and seven runs batted in and All-Star relief pitcher Bubba O’Donnell is now tied for second in the Northwoods League with nine saves.
Once again this two game series should be fun to watch and it could be a big step for ether team to get off to a good start for the second half of the season.
Remember Mallards fans, catcher Eric Nielsen and right-handed pitcher Bubba O’Donnell will be representing the Mallards this Wednesday, July 11th in Mankato for the 2007 Northwoods League All-Star Game
Following the All-Star Break the Mallards return to the Duck Pond Friday, July 13th against Wisconsin at 7:05 pm for Short Person Appreciation Night