Published On: July 7th, 2008

Duluth, MN – July 7, 2008. Missed scoring opportunities and strikeouts proved to be the undoing for the Mallards tonight, as they lost the series opener to the Duluth Huskies 4-1. The defeat drops the South Division first-half champion Mallards to 0-3 to start the second half. The Mallards left nine runners on base and struck out 13 times in the contest. Scott Heitshusen (Kansas) pitched six innings in his sixth start of the season but was saddled with his second loss of the year. Rob Lyerly (Charlotte) led of the offense with a pair of base hits and a walk.

Each squad had two baserunners in the first inning, but neither team was able to get out to an early lead. The Mallards got back-to-back two-out singles from Lyerly and Phil Gosselin (Virginia), but both were stranded when Luke Stewart (UAB) struck out to end the inning. Heitshusen allowed two walks and two stolen bases in the first inning, but was able to induce two flyouts on the infield to leave Huskies runners on second and third.

The Mallards again put two runners on base in the second inning thanks to a leadoff walk by Aaron Bray (Charlotte) and a single to left by Eric Nielsen (Purdue), but Duluth left-hander Tim Statz struck out Baylor duo Don Lambert and Reed Woytek and benefitted from a great defensive play at second base that retired Trent Soares (Fresno State) to end the inning and strand two more Mallards runners.

The third inning was more of the same for the Mallards, as Statz did a great job of working out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam to strand the seventh Mallards runner of the night. With one out Bray drove the ball to center field and Drew Martin (NC State) tried to tag and score from third base on the play. Todd Baumgartner made the catch and threw home to beat Martin to the plate by five feet for the inning-ending double play. Martin ran into the catcher and was ejected on the play, forcing Joe Bonadonna (Illinois) to replace him in the lineup.

After the Mallards were retired in order for the first time in the top of fourth, the Huskies put a run on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning to take a 1-0 lead. With one out Tim Jobe singled and advanced to third on a double to left by Moises Montero. Baumgartner flew out to right field for the second out, scoring Jobe after he tagged up at third.

Two singles and a double in the fifth off Heitshusen plated two more runs for the Huskies to give them a 3-0 lead after five. Collin Kuhn led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt before moving to third on a wild pitch. Chris House flew out to left field, scoring Kuhn for the second Huskies run. Robby Price and Thomas Nichols had back-to-back hits with two away for the Huskies, accounting for their third run of the game.

Duluth added another tally off the Mallards right-hander in the sixth, when Kuhn singled home Baumgartner for their fourth run of the night. Heitshusen was relieved by Travis High (NC State) in the bottom of the seventh. High put the first two runners on base before getting a flyout and an inning-ending double play to escape the seventh.

After all the baserunners and scoring opportunities the Mallards had in the first half of the game, the bats were quiet in the second half as Statz and two relievers combined to allow just one Mallards baserunner and no hits from the sixth to the ninth. The Mallards were able to end the shutout with two outs in the ninth when Lambert drew a walk and scored on a double to left by Woytek. Soares struck out to end the game, the 13th Mallards strikeout of the game.

The two teams wrap up the series tomorrow night at 7:05, before the Mallards travel to Alexandria for two games on Wednesday and Thursday to end a 10-game road trip. The Mallards return to the “Duck Pond” on Friday night for a 7:05 contest against Wisconsin. It is “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 or by calling the ticket office at (608) 246-4277.

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