Sabourin’s blast puts Mallards ahead for good to cap perfect homestand

Box Score

Madison, WI – June 6, 2009. The power surge continued for the Mallards as Harold Riggins (NC State) and Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana) went back-to-back in the sixth, giving Madison 10 home runs through 10 games on the year. Riggins’ 2-run shot, his third of the year, and Sabourin’s solo blast broke a 3-3 tie and carried the Mallards to a 6-4 win over St. Cloud at the “Duck Pond” on Saturday night.

Madison (8-2) swept its 6-game homestand and stretched its win streak to seven games while moving within a half game of South Division leader Eau Claire, who was postponed in its game with Green Bay due to rain. Madison starter Matt Morgan (Purdue) gave up three runs on five hits, striking out six over 5.1 innings.

“Morgan did a nice job,” Pitching Coach Jason Immekus said. “He was able to throw his curve for a strike and get ahead of hitters early in the count. It was his third great outing in a row.”

Morgan (1-0) settled for the no decision, but went the first 4.2 innings without giving up a hit and faced the minimum during that time despite a pair of walks.

“I had my curve working early and was able to throw it for a strike anytime in the count,” Morgan said. “If I walked a guy I wasn’t too worried about it, I knew the defense would pick me up.”

And they did, turning double plays to get out of both the first and second innings. The middle infield consisting of shortstop Brandon Wikoff (Illinois) and second baseman Joe De Pinto (USC) turned four twin killings in all. Joe Yermal (2-0) came on in relief of Morgan and fired 2/3 of an inning to get the win. Kyle Heim faced five batters in the ninth to get his first save of the season.

“In the pen, we’ve hit some guys and walked some guys, but we’ve made the big pitch when needed,” Immekus said.

St. Cloud (3-7) starter Blake Schwartz (0-1) threw three hitless innings to start the game, but the second time around the Madison order wasn’t as kind. Wikoff led off the fourth with a walk, De Pinto followed with a single to right , and then Adam McClain (Memphis), the hero of last night, came through with a 2-RBI double to the left field corner to make it 2-0 Mallards. The next batter, Riggins, then drove in McClain with a sacrifice fly to left field.

The River Bats got three runs to tie the game in the sixth inning. Travis Meiners (Dallas Baptist) led off the inning with a single and then eventually came around to score with Jonathan Roof (Michigan State) on Zac Richard’s (Xavier) 2-RBI double to left. Morgan came on in relief and got Blake Cover (Nebraska-Kearney) to ground into a fielder’s choice that allowed Richard to score, but then induced a double play ball to Nick Longmire (Pacific) to retire the side.

After McClain walked to leadoff the bottom half of the sixth, Riggins came up and crushed the first pitch he saw over the scoreboard in left to put the Mallards back in front 5-3. St. Cloud’s Drew Palen relieved Schwartz and the next batter, Sabourin, knew exactly what he was looking for.

“When the reliever came in I was looking for a first pitch fastball and that’s what I got,” Sabourin said of his first home run of the year which he blasted over the visitor’s bullpen in right.

“We’re playing really well right now. We have a great offense, great pitching; we’re going to win a lot of games this year,” Sabourin said.

The Mallards will have the day off tomorrow and will travel to Battle Creek for a two-game set with the Bombers on Monday and Tuesday. Jordan Hersheiser (0-0) will start game one while Matt Jansen (1-1) is scheduled to take the hill in game two.