Wausau, WI – July 5, 2008. A three-run fourth inning was all the Wisconsin Woodchucks needed to defeat the Madison Mallards 3-2 behind eight innings of two-hit baseball by Bobby Pritchett. The right-hander scattered two base hits and allowed one unearned run, while striking out eight Mallards. Mallards starter Nolan Cain (LSU) redeemed himself after struggling in his first start of the season, pitching three innings tonight and holding the Woodchucks hitless. The two teams combined for only seven hits on the night, and the Mallards missed numerous scoring opportunities, leaving eight runners on base. The sweep at the hands of the Woodchucks drops the first-half champion Mallards to 0-2 to start the second half.
Reed Woytek (Baylor), playing shortstop tonight, went 1-for-4 and drove in a run. Trent Soares (Fresno State), Josh Groves (UW-Milwaukee) and Scott Heitshusen (Kansas) each had a hit to account for the rest of the Mallards offensive production. Matt Gantner followed up a 2-for-5 performance last night with a 1-for-3 showing tonight, and Terance Jackson added a hit and RBI for the Woodchucks.
The game remained scoreless with neither team recording a hit until the fourth inning, when the Mallards got a leadoff double by Soares and moved him around to score on a pair of errors. They had an opportunity to plate another run, but Joe Bonadonna (Illinois) and Don Lambert (Baylor) were left stranded.
Cain was relieved by Brandon Johnson (Western Carolina) in the bottom of the fourth, and the Woodchucks jumped all over his mistakes for all of their scoring on the night. The right-hander walked Chris Wade and hit Max Fulginiti to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Wade and Fulginiti both advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch, before Jonathan Kaskow was walked to load the bases with no outs. Wade crossed the plate when Gantner grounded into a double play and after another walk Fulginiti scored on another wild pitch. The Woodchucks got their first hit of the inning when Jackson singled home their third run of the inning to take a 3-1 lead after four.
Pritchett and the Mallards bullpen cruised through the middle innings, with the Mallards recording just one more hit off Pritchett in the seventh inning. In the ninth Aaron Varnum relieved Pritchett with a 3-1 lead and retired designated hitter Joe Yermal (Charlotte) on a groundout to third and Lambert on strikes to start the inning. He ran into trouble with two outs, allowing a single by Heitshusen and hit pinch-hitter Luke Stewart (UAB). Woytek came through with an RBI single to bring the Mallards within one. The Woodchucks had to go to their bullpen for the final out, bringing in Brad Riddle. The Mallards touched Riddle in two games in Madison in June, saddling him with extra-inning losses in both games. But Riddle had the last laugh tonight, striking out Soares looking to end the game and give the Woodchucks the sweep.
Having wrapped up the first half of a 10-game roadtrip with a record of 3-3, the Mallards will take tomorrow off before heading to Duluth for two games and Alexandria for two more. Following the trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes the Mallards return home on Friday, July 11 for a showdown with the Woodchucks. It will be “Leave it to Beaver Night” at the “Duck Pond!” Come out early for a chance to meet the “Beave,” Jerry Mathers!
The Mallards will be hosting the 2008 Northwoods League All-Star Game on July 13th and July 14th. The Homerun Derby, the Military All-Stars vs. Home Talent League All-Stars Game, and the All-Star Fan Fest will take place on the 13th, while the Northwoods League All-Star Game will take place at 7:05 pm on July 14th. Great seats are still available and can be purchased either online at mallardsbaseball.com or by calling the ticket office at (608) 246-4277.