Madison, WI – July 26, 2008. The Madison Mallards mounted a late-inning comeback against the Waterloo Bucks Saturday night to tie the game at five and send it to extra innings, but Waterloo scored a run in the tenth and held on to win the game 6-5 in front of 7,464 fans at the “Duck Pond.” The Mallards were down 5-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but added one in that frame and three more in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game. The loss was the seventh in a row for the Mallards and drops their record to 7-13 in the second half. James Jones moved from first base to the mound in the bottom of the ninth and worked two innings to earn the win, while Andy Deain (1-3) (Northern Illinois) took the loss for the Mallards.
Rob Lyerly (Charlotte) and Trent Soares (Fresno State) had three hits apiece for the Mallards, and Eric Nielsen (Purdue) and Joe Bonadonna (Illinois) both had their second multiple-hit performances in as many games. Waterloo leadoff hitter Michael Giller had four singles in five at-bats to lead the offensive charge for the Bucks, and Alex Sofranac also went 4-for-5. Each team had 13 hits on the night.
Waterloo was able to score runs in each of first two innings and held a 3-0 lead after three-and-a-half. Madison got on the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to an RBI single to right by Soares that scored Lyerly from third.
The Bucks increased their lead to 4-1 in the top of the sixth off Mallards starter Gabriel Shaw (Louisville) when Giller’s fourth single of the night snuck through the right side of the Mallards infield and scored Sofranac. Shaw was relieved after working the sixth, and he gave up nine hits and four earned runs on the night while striking out five.
Joe Yermal (Charlotte) made a relief appearance for the Mallards in the top of the seventh and went one-third of an inning and gave up the Bucks fifth run of the night and two hits. Now down 5-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Mallards finally got to Bucks starter Jeremy Hauer. Nielsen and Bonadonna both singled to left to start the inning, forcing the Bucks to make a move to the bullpen.
All-Star Bob Lackovic took the mound to face Brandon Wikoff (Illinois) with two runners on base and nobody out. Wikoff laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, moving Nielsen and Bonadonna up 90 feet. Lyerly followed with a groundout to shortstop that scored Nielsen and moved Bonadonna to third with two away. But Lackovic buckled down and got Phil Gosselin (Virginia) to fly out to left to end the inning.
Down to their final six outs, the Mallards broke through for three runs in the bottom off the eighth of Lackovic to tie the game. With one out Soares doubled to left-center that scored Josh Groves (UW-Milwaukee), who reached on a walk, all the way from first. Luke Stewart (UAB) followed with a double of his own to left-center that scored Soares. Nielsen made it three consecutive RBI hits when he singled to right-center and brought around Stewart to tie the game at five.
Andy Deain (Northern Illinois) relieved Nathan Kafka (Minnesota State) in the top of the ninth and worked around a two-out error to escape the inning and keep the game tied. Jones took over for Lackovic in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a single and a walk to put the winning run on second base with just one out. But the Bucks flamethrower got two straight strikeouts to send the game to extra innings.
In the extra frame Sofranac doubled to right-center off Deain to score Taylor Lang, who entered the game in right field in the previous inning. Madison again threatened in the bottom of the tenth in Jones’ second inning of work, but a two-out double by Bonadonna was wasted as Jones got Wikoff to strikeout looking for the third punchout of the inning and end the game.
The Mallards will look to break their longest losing streak of the season tomorrow when they face the Bucks again at 5:05 at the “Duck Pond.” It is Doggie Day at the ballpark, presented by Animart and Capital K-9s! Mallards bandanas will be given out to all dogs, and all dog owners who bring their dog will receive a free bleacher ticket. The first 1,000 fans 14 & under will receive a Mallards baseball, courtesy of Thrift Painting.