Madison, WI – July 20, 2008. The Mallards made it four wins in a row Saturday night with an 8-4 victory over division-rival La Crosse in front of 6,453 fans at the “Duck Pond.” Getting the offense going has been no problem for the Mallards as of late, and the team reached double figures in hits for the fourth straight game. That same four game span has seen the Mallards score 36 runs. Joe Yermal (Charlotte) was solid in six innings tonight and earned his second victory in as many starts. Loggers starter Ryan Millard absorbed the loss.
Every Mallards starter had at least one hit, with Phil Gosselin (Virginia) leading the charge with three in five at-bats. He also scored a run and drove in another one. The right-hander is hitting .444 (8-for-18) in his last four games with four runs and three RBIs. Trent Soares (Fresno State) and Eric Nielsen (Purdue) also had a pair of hits for the Mallards, who move to 7-6 in the second half. La Crosse got a 2-for-4 night from Cory Vaughn.
In his last start, a 9-0 victory over the Wisconsin Woodchucks, Joe Yermal worked five innings and allowed just two base hits to earn his first victory of the season. He picked up right where he left off this afternoon, mowing down the Loggers in the first two innings and allowing just one base hit in the first.
The Mallards entered the game hitting .396 (42-for-106) in their last three contests and increased its batting average with four hits in the bottom of the first, accounting for three runs to take a 3-0 lead. Brandon Wikoff (Illinois) led off with a double to right and went to third on a single to right field by Drew Martin (NC State). The Mallards continued to wear out the right side of the field, as Rob Lyerly (Charlotte) followed with a double that direction that scored Wikoff and sent Martin to third. Following a groundout by Gosselin, Jonathan Ratledge (East Carolina) walked, loading the bases with one out. Soares also went to right field with a single that scored Martin. Joe Bonadonna (Illinois) grounded a ball up the middle and was retired at first, but it was enough to bring Lyerly in from third to give the Mallards a 3-0 lead.
La Crosse was able to touch Yermal in the third for two runs on two hits to cut the lead to 3-2. B.J. Guinn started the inning with a home run to right field and Andy Pascoe reached on an error by Martin at third. Pascoe was then put out at second base as Steve Tinoco reached on a fielder’s choice. The Mallards right-hander walked Derek Helenhihi and gave up a single up the middle to Cory Vaughn that was misplayed by Bonadonna in center, allowing Tinoco to make it home after stopping at third originally. But Yermal got a flyout and a strikeout to put out the fire and keep the score 3-2.
Madison added runs in both the third and the fourth to increase their lead to 5-2. Gosselin singled and scored on a double by Ratledge in the third, and it was Nielsen who crossed the plate in the fourth on a two-out base hit to left by Gosselin. Yermal settled down after allowing the two third-inning runs and retired the Loggers in order in the fourth and worked around a leadoff singles in the fifth and sixth innings to keep the lead intact.
Martin reached on an error to start the sixth off Loggers reliever Wade Kapteyn and later scored the sixth Mallards run. Yermal’s night was finished after the sixth, and he allowed two runs on five hits in the game. He was relieved by Brant Combs (Missouri State), who had no trouble with the Loggers in the seventh. The bottom of the seventh saw the Mallards add a pair of runs to increase the lead to 8-2 after seven.
La Crosse scored in the top of the eight off the Mallards left-hander and added another in the ninth off new pitcher Nathan Kafka (Minnesota State) to finish the scoring for the night, with the final score of 8-4.
The series moves to La Crosse for a doubleheader tomorrow night to make up for a rainout on June 7. The Mallards return home on Saturday, July 26 to begin a series against Waterloo. It will be William Hung American Idol Karaoke Night at the ballpark! There will also be postgame fireworks presented by Lifestyle Staffing.