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Jansen stellar on mound, Mallards slug past Battle Creek 7-2

Madison, WI – June 13, 2008. Another strong outing on the hill by Matt Jansen (Purdue, pictured left) and two hits apiece by a quartet of hitters paced the Mallards to a 7-2 victory over the Battle Creek Bombers in front of 5,875 fans at the “Duck Pond.” Jansen gave up his first runs of the season but earned the win with six innings pitched, scattering seven hits and allowing just two runs. Three Mallards relievers pitched an inning each to finish the game, allowing just one base hit the rest of the way. The win snaps a three-game home losing streak for the Mallards, and moves their record to 8-5.

Phil Gosselin (Virginia), Rob Lyerly (Charlotte), Eric Nielsen (Purdue) and Brian Smith (Northern Illinois) each had two hits to account for eight of the 12 Mallards hits on the night. Gosselin finished the night 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Lyerly drove in three and also scored a run, while Smith went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a hit-by-pitch. Lyerly is now 6-for-8 with five RBIs and four runs scored in his last two games.

After Jansen retired the Bombers in order to start the game, the Mallards offense came out firing and picked up right where they left off after scoring 14 runs against Waterloo on Thursday. Aaron Bray (Charlotte) led off the inning with a bloop double over the third baseman, bringing up Brandon Wikoff (Illinois). Wikoff laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line and reached safely, moving Bray to third. The Mallards number three and four hitters, Gosselin and Josh Groves (UW-Milwaukee) both flew out, with Gosselin’s being a sacrifice that scored Bray and Groves’ moving Wikoff to third. Lyerly then stepped to the plate and ripped a double to left center that brought Wikoff in from third. Nielsen followed with a single to right field, which scored Lyerly from second.

Jansen headed out to the mound for the second inning with a 3-0 lead. He gave up a leadoff double to Garret Smith, who made it to third on a single by Ricky McGraw. It was then the Bombers turn to move a runner with a sacrifice, a sac fly to center by Mike Murphy that scored Smith. Smith’s run was the first run that Jansen had allowed in 15.2 innings on the year. But Jansen got out of the inning by inducing a fly out to right field.

David Luna set down the Mallards in order in the second, but they added two more in the third to take a 5-1 lead after three. Gosselin singled to left to start the inning and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt by Luna. Groves followed with a walk, and after a Lyerly strikeout and a Nielsen groundout, Smith singled home Gosselin and Groves to give the Mallards a four-run advantage.

The Bombers plated a second run in the fifth when Connor Bernatz grounded out to short, scoring Andrew Workman who reached on a one-out single. The two runs were all that Jansen would allow on the night, as he worked through his sixth and his final inning with no problems. In 20 innings over three starts, the left-hander has allowed just two earned runs. He is 2-0 on the season.

The Mallards offense was kept off the scoreboard in the middle innings, but sent eight men to the plate and scored twice in the bottom of the seventh. Wikoff walked to lead off the inning and went to second on Gosselin’s second single of the night. Groves laid down a sacrifice bunt to put the runners on second on third with one out. Lyerly came to the plate and did his job with a single that scored Wikoff and Gosselin. Neither team could push across any more runs, making the final score 7-2. Andy Deain (Northern Illinois), Nathan Kafka (Minnesota State, pictured below) and Reed Woytek (Baylor) finished the game for the Mallards, with Woytek allowing just one base knock.

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Scott Heitshusen heads to the mound for the Mallards tomorrow against Bombers right-hander Nick Hoover. It will be Beetlemania Night at the “Duck Pond,” with Beetlemania t-shirts going to the first 1,000 people in the Duck Blind. There will also be post-game fireworks, presented by Life Style Staffing. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m., and great seats still remain. The Mallards will also be home on Sunday afternoon for a Father’s Day doubleheader and a Monday night game against the Waterloo Bucks, games that were moved to Madison after heavy flooding in Waterloo. Sunday we will find Dane County’s Best Dad after a day of dad-related activities, and Monday will be Backwards Day at the ballpark to mark the last game the Mallards will be the “road” team at the “Duck Pond.”