Madison, WI – July 19, 2008. It was another stellar night for all facets of the Mallards offense at the “Duck Pond” on Saturday, as the team tied a season-high with 16 hits in an 11-5 pounding of the Battle Creek Bombers in front of a season-high 7,475 fans. Even after falling behind 5-0 the Mallards offense kept plugging away and scored 11 unanswered runs, including multiple runs in each of the last five innings, to win the game. Madison has won all six meetings against the Bombers this season and moves to 6-6 in the second half with the victory.
Joe Bonadonna (Illinois) reached base in all five plate appearances tonight, with two singles and a double and two walks. He also scored a run and drove in three more. Phil Gosselin (Virginia) was 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI, and Jonathan Ratledge (East Carolina) entered the game in the sixth and recorded his first two hits in a Mallards uniform, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Battle Creek designated hitter David Luna was 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Patience at the plate paid off for the Mallards, as they drew nine walks off four Bombers hurlers.
Madison’s Scott Heitshusen (Kansas) and Bombers starter Doug Murray were locked in a pitcher’s duel through the first three innings. Heitshusen allowed just three baserunners in the first three frames, with none of them reaching on a base hit. He struck out two and got four ground ball outs. Murray worked around a pair of singles in the first thanks to a timely double play and he allowed two more base runners in the second before escaping with the scoreboard still blank. He retired the top of the Mallards lineup in order in the third.
Battle Creek lit up the scoreboard in the top of the fourth, scoring five runs on four hits to take a 5-0 lead. The Mallards right-hander walked Mike Murphy to start the inning and then gave up a double to Brian Cavazos off the left-center wall that moved Murphy to third. Heitshusen then threw a pitch that got past Josh Groves (UW-Milwaukee) behind the plate, allowing Murphy to trot home and Cavazos to advance 90 feet to third.
After a flyout to shortstop, Renee Escobar singled, scoring Cavazos. Garret Smith executed a sacrifice bunt that sent Escobar to second, allowing him to score on a single by Dusty Harvard for the third run of the inning. Designated hitter David Luna then ripped a two-run home run to left, giving the Bombers a 5-0 lead.
The Mallards fought back in the bottom half of the fourth, getting three hits and taking advantage of two errors on Tillman Pugh in left field on the same play to score three runs. Gosselin tripled to right field to start the inning and scored on a single up the middle by Groves to cut the Bombers lead to 5-4. Groves was retired as Aaron Bray (Charlotte) reached on a fielder’s choice, bringing up Bonadonna. The right-hander singled to left fielder, where Pugh misplayed the ball and then overthrew the catcher, allowing Bray to score from first and moving Bonadonna all the way to third. He scored one batter later when Luke Stewart (UAB) reached on an error by the first baseman.
Heitshusen settled down in the fifth, facing the minimum and allowing one base hit. He was helped by a perfect throw by Groves to cut down a potential base-stealer for the third out of the inning. In the bottom of the fifth the Mallards finished the rally and tied the game at five, thanks to four singles, with one by Bonadonna scoring Drew Martin (NC State) and Rob Lyerly (Charlotte).
In what would be his last inning of work, Heitshusen pitched a near-perfect sixth, getting two quick outs before allowing a walk. But he struck out the final batter he would face on the night swinging to strand a runner on first.
Murray was relieved by right-hander Bryce Morrow in the top of the sixth, and Stewart greeted him with a solo home run to right-center, his second in two nights and sixth of the season, to take the lead for the first time tonight 6-5. The Mallards added one more in the inning off Morrow, an RBI single to right by Gosselin that scored Brandon Wikoff (Illinois) from second.
Andy Deain (Northern Illinois) entered the game in the top of the seventh and got Luna to ground right back to him to start the inning. He then induced a pop out to Groves by Pugh, before allowing a double to A.J. Shindler. But the inning ended after Deain got a flyout to second base, and the Mallards still held a 7-5 lead.
The Mallards added two more in both the seventh and eighth to bring the game to the final score of 11-5. Reed Woytek (Baylor) pitched a blemish-free ninth inning in relief of Deain to wrap up the Bombers at bats for the night.
Madison welcomes the La Crosse Loggers to the “Duck Pond” tomorrow evening for a 5:05 battle. It is Goodman Jewelers Diamond Night, where the first 1,000 ladies will receive a gemstone and one will be a real diamond! The first 1,000 fans will also receive a reusable grocery bag with the Mallards logo, courtesy of Verizon Wireless.