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Published On: June 20th, 2009

Last night’s Box Score

Eau Claire, WI – June 20, 2009. When the Madison Mallards return home for Rhythm & Booms next Saturday, they will have a great idea of whether they have what it takes to win the Northwoods League South Division First-Half Championship. Beginning today, the team embarks on a six-games-in-seven-days road trip that includes four contests against tonight’s opponent, the Eau Claire Express, who currently share first place with the Madison franchise.

After Saturday and Sunday’s games in Eau Claire, the team has a brief off-day on Monday before heading to La Crosse for a two-game tilt on Tuesday. The Mallards then return back to Eau Claire (14-5) to settle who exactly will take home the First Half Championship.

This evening the Mallards (16-6) will send right-hander Alex Rivers (Santa Clara) to the bump to make his first start of the season. The returning player was quite effective for the team a season ago, posting a 4-1 record and 3.68 ERA in eight starts over 51.1 innings.

He threw an inning of scoreless relief during the Mallards 12-0 romping of the Waterloo Bucks this past Wednesday.

The Express will counter with right-hander Jon Ringenburg (Baylor) who is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in one start this season. During that performance on June 13 against the Duluth Huskies, Ringenburg allowed two earned runs during his six innings of work. He also struck out five batters.

Eau Claire is coming off a two-game trip in Battle Creek, Mich. that saw the team defeat the Bombers 5-4 on Friday night and had their game suspended last night to due heavy rains. At the time of the suspension, the game was tied 2-2 heading into the bottom half of the ninth inning. That game will be resumed on July 25 and will count towards the second half of the NWL season.

The Mallards, winners of seven of its last ten games, including three in-a-row, will look to ride the hot bats of Joe Patterson (Texas A&M) and Kurtis Muller (Iowa) who are hitting .417 with 5 RBI and .353 with 6 runs scored, respectively.

Tonight’s game against the Express is slated to begin at 6:35 p.m.

Don’t miss a moment of action while the team hits the road by listening to FM 100.5 ESPN or online by visiting espnmadison.com