Madison, WI – June 3, 2009. Joe Yermal’s first start of the season was a dandy as the Mallards came away with an 8-5 victory over Waterloo Wednesday night in front of 4,683 fans at the “Duck Pond”. Ben Long homered for the second straight night and third time this season in helping Madison to its fourth win in a row.
Yermal (Charlotte) went six innings, allowing only two runs on five hits in earning his first win. Kyle Heim (Iowa), Dan Burawa (St. John’s) and Kevin Cahill (Purdue) combined to close things out, surrendering three runs over the final three innings.
“It was fun to be out here. Defense was really solid behind me and it was great to get the win,” Yermal said. “When you’re able to come through right away it’s a really good feeling.”
The sophomore right-hander finished his collegiate season with an 8-3 record and a slim 3.01 ERA. He had great command of his pitches tonight, needing only 30 pitches to get through the first three innings.
“If you can throw strikes you’re going to do a good job,” Manager C.J. Thieleke said. “He was good. He got a lot of outs with early contact.”
Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana) led an 11-hit attack with a 3-for-3 effort, but it was Long (UW-Milwaukee) who provided the big blow in the third inning with a home run to the opposite field, a 3-run lined shot over the right field fence.
“He’s hit one out to every part of the field. He’s been tremendous for us,” Thieleke said of Long.
Sabourin made a great impression in his first game back, reaching base four times on a double, a pair of singles and a walk.
“I was excited with the way he went about his business. He’s going to be a big time contributor,” Thieleke said of Sabourin.
Madison’s fourth win in a row pushes their record to 5-2 on the year and into a tie for second place in the South Division behind Eau Claire (6-1), who got a 6-2 victory over Brainerd tonight. A fast start can go a long way as the winner of each division in the first half of the season earns a playoff spot at the end of the year.
“If you want to compete in the first half, you need to get it going early,” Thieleke said of competing for that first half crown.
Returning infielder, Brandon Wikoff (Illinois), made his first appearance of the season for the Mallards, getting a rousing applause as he strolled to the plate as a pinch hitter in the third inning. Wicoff finished the game 1-for-2, driving in a run with a double in the sixth inning. He also reached base with a walk in the eighth.
“It’s good to have Wikoff back. It’s a lot of fun for the fans,” Thieleke said.
Taking the loss was left-hander Rick Dodridge (Central Michigan) who allowed seven runs (6 earned) on nine hits over 5.2 innings. Leadoff hitter Michael Giller went 3-for-5 with an RBI for the Bucks (1-6).
The Mallards will host Waterloo in the second and final game of the series. Slated to start will be Madison local Cody Winiarski (MATC) for the Mallards and Scott Williams (UW-Stevens Point) for the Bucks.