Madison, WI – June 6, 2008. For the third night in a row the Mallards starting pitcher shined on the hill, but this time the team could not score enough runs for him to pull out the victory as they were shut out by La Crosse 6-0 in front of a season-high 6,312 fans at the “Duck Pond.” Bryan Earley (Lincoln Trail) was stellar through six innings of work, allowing just one base hit and striking out seven batters. But his night finished after a batter reached on an error and he hit a batter to start the seventh, and he was the tough-luck loser on the night. He allowed three runs, none of them earned. The loss was the Mallards second straight at home and dropped their record to 6-3, ahead of tomorrow night’s series finale at La Crosse.
Loggers starter Pete Woodworth was even better than Earley, pitching into the ninth and scattering six base hits and three walks. He also struck out seven in his eight innings of work and earned his first victory of the season. Woodworth only allowed one Mallard to reach third base, and he did so thanks to a throwing error by the catcher Andy Pascoe. Two of the Mallards six hits were by Russell Harben (South Alabama, pictured left) who is hitting .455 (5-11) in his last three games. Brandon Wikoff (Illinois, pictured below) added a hit and reached base three times.
Both pitchers cruised through four innings, and the Loggers struck first in the fifth inning. Chris Elder reached on an error by Harben at second, and advanced to third on back-to-back hit batters by Earley. He came around to score on an RBI groundout by Randy Rundgren, and Tom Peale came around to score on another RBI groundout one batter later.
The score remained 2-0 until the three-run Loggers seventh, which chased Earley from the game. He was relieved by the usually-reliable Travis High (NC State), who struggled tonight in one inning of work. He allowed four straight hits and two earned runs. Kyle Heim (Iowa) followed High and finished the final two innings, allowing the sixth Loggers run on two base hits.
The Mallards looked like they were going to jump out first in the third, when Wikoff led off the inning with a walk. He stole second and advanced to third when Pascoe threw the ball into center field. But he was stranded on third when Woodworth struck out Joe De Pinto (USC) and Luke Stewart (UAB) and got Josh Groves (UW-Milwaukee) to ground out to short. The next real Mallards threat came in the ninth inning, when they got the first two runners on base thanks to a single by Harben and a walk by Brian Smith (Northern Illinois). Woodworth was then relieved by Scott Kuhns, who struck out Don Lambert (Baylor) and got Wikoff to fly out to the center fielder, who easily doubled off Smith at second who was running with the pitch to end the game.
In the last three games Mallards starters have allowed just one earned run on 11 hits in 21 innings pitched. Matt Jansen (Purdue) pitched eight shutout innings in a 2-1 win at Green Bay on Wednesday and Kyle Barry (MATC) also shut down the Bullfrogs on Thursday with seven innings of work, five hits and a run.
After the game at La Crosse tomorrow night at 7:05, the Mallards will enjoy their first off day of the season, before hosting Thunder Bay on Monday and Tuesday. Both games are at 7:05 p.m. Monday’s game is Sports Impressions T-Shirt Night (free Mallards t-shirt for first 1,250 fans) and Tuesday is Quench Gum Bat Night (first 1,000 kids 14 & under) at the “Duck Pond.”