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Nine-run first inning by Green Bay buries Mallards, team loses 11-8

Green Bay, WI – July 25, 2008. A nine-run first inning by the Green Bay Bullfrogs proved to be too much for the Mallards to overcome, as they lost 11-8 at Joannes Stadium in Green Bay Friday night. The Mallards outscored the Bullfrogs 8-2 after the first, but could not make the improbable comeback. The loss wraps up a forgettable six-game, five-day road trip for the squad, as they lost a couple of late-inning leads to lose games and will head back to Madison winless on the trip. The loss drops the Mallards to 7-12 in the second half.

Brandon Wikoff (Illinois) led the Mallards 14-hit parade with three of his own in six at bats. Eric Nielsen (Purdue) joined Wikoff with three hits on the night, and he drove in two runs. Jonathan Ratledge (East Carolina) and Joe Bonadonna (Illinois) had two apiece, and Bonadonna crossed the plate three times. The Bullfrogs had three-hit nights from Ryan Cavan and Dillon Bell, and Bell drove in three runs.

The Bullfrogs sent 13 to the plate in the bottom of the first and drove Mallards starter Scott Heitshusen (Kansas) from the game after six batters. He did not record an out and allowed five hits and four earned runs. Kyle Heim (Iowa) relieved Heitshusen and ended up going two innings on the night.

After the nine-run first by the Bullfrogs, the Mallards got on the scoreboard with three of their own in the top of the second. Bonadonna doubled to left field that scored Phil Gosselin (Virginia) and Nielsen had a two-run single to left that accounted for the other two runs of the inning. The Mallards cut the lead to 9-6 after three-and-a-half when they took advantage of an error and three hits to score three more runs.

Green Bay scored for the last time in the game in the bottom of the fourth, plating two runs off Brandon Johnson (Western Carolina) highlighted by a two-run Bell triple to left-center field.

The score remained 11-6 until the top of the ninth, when the Mallards added two more off new Bullfrogs pitcher Jamie Hayes. The first three batters in the inning reached to load the bases and following a popout to first by Nielsen, Wikoff hit a single up the middle that scored Ratledge. With the bases still loaded and the Mallards mounting a threat, Hayes was relieved by Brian Pearl. Drew Martin (NC State) faced Pearl and reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Bonadonna. Following Martin’s RBI, Rob Lyerly (Charlotte) stepped to the plate with the chance to cut the lead to one. But Pearl got him swinging to end the game.

A bright spot for the Mallards on the night was the pitching of Travis High (NC State). High rebounded from a rough previous outing and pitched the final three innings of tonight’s contest, allowing just two hits and striking out a pair of batters.

The Mallards return home tomorrow night for a 6:05 contest against the Waterloo Bucks. It is American Idol Karaoke Night at the ballpark. Come out for a chance to meet William Hung of American Idol “fame!” Also, stick around after the game for a post-game fireworks show presented by Lifestyle Staffing.