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Madison, WI – June 14, 2008. The Mallards were firing on all cylinders in the series finale against Battle Creek, and earned the sweep with a 7-3 victory in front of a season-high 6,441 fans at the “Duck Pond.” Scott Heitshusen (Kansas) improved to 2-0 on the year with the win tonight, a six-inning outing in which he allowed just two hits and one earned run while striking out nine. Rob Lyerly (Charlotte) continued his torrid hitting with a 1-for-3 effort and a run scored. He reached base three times. The victory moves the Mallards to 9-5 on the season, ahead of a visit by the recently-homeless Waterloo Bucks.

For the second night in a row the Bombers were retired in order in the top of the first, and for the second night in a row the Mallards put up a three-spot in the home half. Heitshusen struck out the side in the first and needed just 13 pitches, 10 of which he threw for strikes. Aaron Bray (Charlotte) and Brandon Wikoff (Illinois, pictured left) started the bottom of the first with back-to-back walks. Following a popped up bunt attempt by Phil Gosselin (Virginia), Josh Groves (UW-Milwaukee) singled to left, scoring Bray and moving Wikoff over to third. The recently-hot Lyerly laced a one-hopper to second that was misplayed by the second baseman, and Lyerly reached and Groves went to third. They both moved up 90 feet on the very next pitch, a fastball by Bombers starter Nick Hoover that sailed over the catcher’s head, making the score 3-0.

The offense gave Heitshusen another run in the second, when Joe De Pinto (USC) doubled and later scored on a single to right field by Bray to make the score 4-0. Heitshusen worked around a walk and a single in the second and then set down eight in a row from the third to the fifth. He handed the ball over to Travis High (NC State) in the seventh, who gave up back-to-back singles but left them stranded and got out of the inning with the 4-0 lead still intact. High started the eighth inning with a strikeout, then gave up a single to Garret Smith and was relieved by Andy Deain (Northern Illinois). Deain induced a flyout by the first batter he faced, but Ricky McGraw reached on an error that scored Smith for the second Bombers run of the night. The Bombers managed to push across another run in the ninth off of Wikoff, who moved from shortstop to the mound.

Hoover settled down in the third, and worked through the seventh allowing just one more base hit, a sixth-inning double by Lyerly. Hoover was relieved by Thomas Whitsett who allowed three more Mallards runs, highlighted by a two-run home run by Luke Stewart (UAB, pictured below) to right field. It was his second home run of the season.

Brian Smith (Northern Illinois), in his last appearance as a Mallard due to impending Tommy John surgery, also went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. In the two games against Battle Creek he was 3-for-6 and drove in three runs. Tonight’s scoring was spread throughout the order, as no Mallard hitter scored more than one run.

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The Mallards will remain at home tomorrow and Monday, as another series with the Waterloo Bucks has been relocated to Madison due to heavy flooding in Waterloo. Because of the rainout between the two teams on Thursday, tomorrow will be a doubleheader with the first pitch of the first game starting at 1:05 p.m. The second game will follow 30 minutes after the completion of the first. Come celebrate Father’s Day at the “Duck Pond!” We will crown Dane County’s Best Dad after a day of fatherly activities such as tie tying, toy assembling and balloon shaving! Monday’s game will start at 7:05, and in honor of the last game the Mallards will be the “road” team at Warner Park it will be Backwards Day at the ballpark. Great tickets still remain for the games against the Bucks.

Published On: June 14th, 2008