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Pitching, middle-inning offense lead Mallards to 9-4 win

Madison, WI – August 3, 2008. Seven solid innings by Joe Yermal (Charlotte) and four RBIs from Eric Nielsen (Purdue) paced the Mallards to a 9-4 victory over the South Division second-half championship-contending Green Bay Bullfrogs in front of 6,694 fans at the “Duck Pond” Sunday night. The seven innings were a season-high for Yermal and the four batted in tied a season high for Nielsen. Yermal and two Mallards relievers did not allow a hit from the third inning until two outs in the bottom of the ninth, which gave the offense plenty of time to take the lead with three runs in the sixth and four in the seventh. The win improves Madison’s record to 10-18 in the second half and 32-29 overall.

Trent Soares (Fresno State) reached base in four of his five plate appearances and hit his first career home run, a two-run shot in the bottom of the second. Joe Bonadonna (Illinois), Phil Gosselin (Virginia) and Drew Martin (NC State) all had two hits for the Mallards, who had 13 on the night as a team. Green Bay saw a pair of hits from both Josh Prince and Brian Pearl, and Pearl added a home run in the second inning.

The first inning went by quietly for both Yermal and Bullfrogs starter Chad Blauer, and each team benefitted from a home run in the second to open the scoring. Pearl hit a solo shot on the first pitch with one out in the top of the second, and Soares hit a line drive down the right field line that left in a hurry for a two-run home run to put the Mallards on top 2-1.

The Bullfrogs came right back in the top of the third, scoring three runs on four hits and an error to take back the lead 4-2. Pearl had an RBI double to right field that scored Cameron Satterwhite. The three runs and four hits would be about all that Green Bay would muster off the big Mallards right-hander, who won for the third time in his last four starts.

Blauer cruised through the middle innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth in what would prove to be his last inning of work. Rob Lyerly (Charlotte), the league’s second leading hitter, singled to start the inning and moved to third on a single by Gosselin and a walk by Soares to load the bases with no outs and give the Mallards their best chance to do some damage. Martin then hit a ball to Satterwhite in right field, who raced in to meet the ball but dropped it, allowing Lyerly to score and everybody to move up a base. With the error the Mallards cut the lead to 4-3.

Blauer was then relieved by Matt VandenHeuvel, who struck out Josh Groves (UW-Milwaukee) and gave up a single to Nielsen that brought Gosselin in from third. Aaron Bray (Charlotte) followed with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Soares to put the Mallards ahead 5-4. All three runs in the inning were charged to Blauer, who took the loss and fell to 4-2 on the season.

The Mallards increased their lead to 9-4 after the seventh inning, in which they added four runs on three hits. The scoring was highlighted by a three-run double to left-center by Nielsen. Yermal was relieved in the eighth by Kyle Rutter (NC State), who got a flyout and two groundouts to retire the Bullfrogs.

Reed Woytek (Baylor) came in for the ninth inning and retired Nick O’Shea on a flyout before walking Pete Goeman. He then struck out pinch-hitter Dillon Bell, before giving up a single to Ryan Cavan. Cavan’s single was the first hit for the Bullfrogs since Pearl’s double in the third. Woytek then struck out Prince to preserve the win for Yermal, who moves to 3-0 on the season.

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The Mallards and the Bullfrogs will conclude the series Monday night in Madison at 7:05. It is Budweiser Pint Glass Night (first 750 21 & under). Alex Rivers (Santa Clara) will start on the mound for the Mallards.