Duluth, MN – July 8, 2008. A day after leaving nine runners on base in a 4-1 defeat the Mallards again struggled to move runners Tuesday night, stranding 11 on base in a 3-0 loss to the Duluth Huskies. The shutout loss drops the Mallards to 0-4 to start the second half. Matt Jansen (Purdue) took the loss for the Mallards, and five Huskies hurlers combined to allow just three Madison hits on the night. In the two-game set in Duluth the Mallards scored just one run and left 20 runners on base.
Phil Gosselin (Virginia) was the lone offensive bright spot for the Mallards, knocking out two of the team’s three hits and drawing a walk in the sixth. Rob Lyerly (Charlotte) accounted for the squad’s only other hit, a first-inning single. The Mallards are winless against the Huskies this season in four games, only scoring five total runs.
All-Star Lyerly gave the Mallards a two-out baserunner in the first when he singled up the middle, but the team could not string together anything else in the inning. Jansen, in his seventh start of the season and first after being named to the All-Star team, struck out the side in the bottom of the first. Luke Stewart (UAB) reached on an error to start the second, but he too was stranded as Huskies starter T.J. Walz retired the next three Mallards in order.
Duluth scored first in the top of the second off the Mallards left-hander. The Huskies lone All-Star Tim Jobe doubled and advanced to third on a flyout by Moises Montero. Todd Baumgartner laced his third hit of the series, a single to right that scored Jobe. The Mallards came back in the third with another two-out baserunner but were unable to tie the game.
The middle innings went by quietly for both teams. The Mallards had a pair of baserunners in the fourth and another in the fifth, but all were stranded and the Huskies remained on top 1-0. Jansen rolled through the fourth and fifth, facing the minimum and allowing just one base hit.
It looked as if the Mallards were finally going to break through in the sixth after loading the bases on walks with nobody out off a couple of new Huskies pitchers. But Sam Murphy struck out Drew Martin (NC State) looking and got Josh Groves (UW-Milwaukee) to ground into an inning-ending double play to escape the inning. Through six innings the Mallards left eight runners on base, including at least one per inning.
However the Huskies had no trouble moving baserunners tonight, taking advantage of back-to-back singles off Jansen starting the sixth to score two more runs for a 3-0 lead. Robby Price and Thomas Nichols singled to start the frame, putting Jansen in his biggest jam of the night. The sophomore from Purdue got a flyout to Joe Bonadonna (Illinois) at second base for the first out of the inning, but allowed a single to Montero that scored Price and moved Nichols to second. After retiring the second batter of the inning via a strikeout, Jansen hit Steve Chatwood to load the bases. He then threw a wild pitch that scored Nichols from third for the second run of the inning and third Huskies tally of the night.
The nine-one-two batters for the Mallards were set down in order in the top of the seventh and new Mallards hurler Kyle Rutter (NC State) worked out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh to keep the team within three runs with two at bats remaining. But those final six outs went quickly and the Mallards were held scoreless to finish off the shutout.
Brant Combs (Missouri State) followed Rutter out of the bullpen in the eighth and was solid in his one inning of work. He walked the first man he faced and gave up a single to the second batter of the inning before recording back-to-back strikeouts and a flyout to finish off the Huskies at bats.
The Mallards will try to put the back-to-back sweeps to start the second half behind them as they travel to Alexandria for a two-game set on Wednesday and Thursday. After those two games the team will head back to Madison for a showdown on Friday with the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Friday 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.