The Mallards continue their four-game home stand Thursday as Battle Creek comes to the Duck Pond. Madison split the two-game set with Rochester with a 12-4 victory on Wednesday; the win is the first for the Mallards at Warner Park since July 1 against La Crosse.
Battle Creek comes in having defeated first place Wisconsin in extra innings 5-4 on Wednesday. Both the Mallards and the Bombers are tied for the final spot in the South Division with a 3-7 second half record.
This will be the final time that the Bombers and Mallards will face off at the Duck Pond in ’07 as Madison has three meetings at Battle Creek in August. Entering Thursday the season series is split at one a piece and it has been nearly one month since both teams have met, dating back to June 20 at Warner Park.
Right-hander Brian Smith will make his seventh start of the season on Thursday; he comes in 2-2 with a 3.29 ERA. Smith’s last appearance came on July 13 against Wisconsin at the Duck Pond where he went seven innings of work and allowed three earned runs, two coming in the first inning. Following the tough start Smith settle down and kept the Mallards in most of the game by striking out six batters.
Smith’s counter part will be right-hander J.D. Haver who will be making his fourth start and has yet to record a decision. In 24 innings pitched Haver has allowed 11 earned runs and has struck out 17. As has Smith, Haver has not thrown since July 13 where he went six and one-thirds innings of work against Green Bay and allowed four earned runs on six hits, striking out six.
The Mallards production at the plate has been the big talk recently with support coming from the top and bottom of the line-up. Jordan Comadena has hit .389 (7-18) with six runs scored in his last five games and is just a few walks shy of setting the Mallards record of walks in a season.
The power numbers have definitely come from Randy Molina who is hitting .351 (13-37) with two home runs, nine runs batted with seven runs scored in his last 10 games. In his last five, Brandon Wikoff has gone 6-for-19 (.316) with seven runs and five runs batted in. In addition, Bobby Hubbard continues to give run support and has collected three RBI in his last five games.
Let’s not count out Battle Creek’s ability to put up some numbers as they have plenty of hitters that have had success against the Mallards in ’07. Catcher Tony Sanchez is batting .625 (5-8) with three doubles and three runs batted in against Madison pitching.
Outfielder Nick Jowers is 3-for-7 (.429) versus the Mallards and infielder John Delaney is batting .500 (3-6) with three runs batted in as well. The Bombers are hitting .254 as a team and even though they have only hit five home runs total, they have the potential to light up the scoreboard at any point in the game.