Madison, WI – June 30, 2009. It was a pitcher’s duel between the Bryce Butt (Ohio) and Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) in game one of the home-and-home series between the Woodchucks and Mallards last night. Wisconsin’s Butt (2-0) out-did Madison’s Esch (0-1) with a complete game five-hitter in a 2-1 win at Athletic Park. Both teams will square off once more in the Northwoods League’s first half, traveling south to the “Duck Pond” for a 7:05 p.m. start on Tuesday.
Esch suffered his first loss of the year, allowing two runs (1 earned) on just three hits over six innings of work. Both Woodchuck runs came in the third inning while the Mallards could only answer with a sixth inning RBI single by Joe Patterson (Texas A&M). Former Mallard, Ben Long (UW-Milwaukee), went 0-for-3 in the first game against his former club.
Both teams are out of the running for the first half crown as the Mallards sit four games behind first place Eau Claire in the South Division and the Woodchucks remain 11 games out of first, also in the South Division.
Joe Yermal (Charlotte) will seek his fourth win of the season. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.78 ERA in 16.2 innings for the Mallards in 2009. He’ll match up against fellow right-hander Bryce Shafer (Valparaiso) who has a record of 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA in 27 innings pitched this year.
A Jekyl-and-Hyde-like Comparison
The Mallards are 12-3 at home this season, but just 6-10 on the road. Their offensive discrepancies are baffling as they are scoring nearly four fewer runs per game away from the “Duck Pond”. Their batting average is 25 points lower on the road while their on-base percentage has also taken a hit, being 30 points away from home. The one constant has been Madison’s pitching which actually holds a better ERA on the road (2.87 ERA) than at home (2.98 ERA).
Home Mallards Away
7.2 Runs per game 3.4
.280 Batting Average .255
.366 On-base Percentage .336