Published On: July 23rd, 2008

Eau Claire, WI – July 23, 2008. Alex Rivers (Santa Clara) pitched a gem for the Mallards through seven innings Wednesday night, retiring 15 straight at one point, but he had nothing to show for it as a six-run eighth inning boosted the Eau Claire Express past the Mallards 7-5 at Carson Park. The Mallards are now 7-10 in the second half and have lost four games in a row, tying their longest losing streak of the season. Rivers ended up as the tough-luck loser after running into trouble in his eighth inning of work and eventually giving up six earned runs.

Trent Soares (Fresno State) had three of the Mallards 10 hits on the night and added two RBIs and a run scored. Aaron Bray (Charlotte) was 2-for-4 for the Mallards, and Jonathan Ratledge (East Carolina) drove in a pair of runs. Eau Claire got a 2-for-3 night from Ryan O’Sullivan.

The Mallards jumped on the scoreboard first off Express starter J.D. Reichenbach, scoring a run on a Soares single up the middle that scored Rob Lyerly (Charlotte) from second. Rivers worked through the Express in order in the first, his first of five innings in which he set down Eau Claire 1-2-3. The Express tied the game in the second on a one-out RBI single by O’Sullivan that scored Ryan Lee.

But the Mallards came storming back in the top of the third, sending 10 men to the plate and scoring four times to drive Reichenbach from the game and take a 5-1 lead after two-and-a-half. Soares and Joe Bonadonna (Illinois) each had an RBI in the inning and Ratledge picked up both of his RBIs on the night when he doubled down the right field line, scoring Soares and Luke Stewart (UAB).

From that point on it was all Rivers. He retired 15 Express hitters in a row from the second until two outs in the seventh, and looked to be in line for his third win of the season in his finest outing of the year. But the Express figured him out in the eighth, touching him for three hits and three runs to cut the lead to one before he was relieved by Nathan Kafka (Minnesota State).

The Express got three more off the submariner before he worked out of the inning. But the damage was already done, as the Express took a 7-5 lead and did not look back. Drew Kendrick pitched the ninth and got three quick outs from Stewart, Soares and Bonadonna to end the game.

The Mallards travel to Green Bay for a pair of games Thursday and Friday, before returning to the “Duck Pond” for a two-game series against Waterloo this weekend. Come out to the ballpark on Saturday for a chance to meet William Hung, of American Idol “fame”!

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