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Mallards hold off late Huskies’ rally to win 3-2 Wednesday

Box Score

Duluth, MN – July 8, 2009. Madison Mallards starting pitcher J.R. Graham (Santa Clara) threw six shutout innings while only allowing one hit and left fielder Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana) added two clutch RBI to hold off the pesky Duluth Huskies in a 3-2 victory at Wade Stadium Wednesday night.

With the win the Mallards (5-1) remain at least a full game ahead of the rest of its South Division foes.

Normally a long-reliever for the team, Graham (1-2) picked up his first win of the season in his first start, and was in command from the very get-go in striking out six batters and walking only one. In fact, the lone hit that he allowed came against the first batter he saw in leadoff man Scott Sommerfeld (Parkway South HS) who would later be stranded at second base.

After Brad Allen (Elgin CC) relieved Graham in the seventh inning and allowed a run, Dan Burawa (St. John’s) was called upon to get the final six outs and did just that in striking out four hitters to receive his second save of the season.

Huskies starting pitcher Sean Yost (Nebraska) picked up the loss (1-5) after allowing three earned runs in eight innings of work. Like Graham, he too struck out six batters.

The way Graham was throwing, the Mallards didn’t need much offense tonight, but luckily received enough thanks to some big at-bats by Sabourin and Adam McClain (Memphis).

In the third inning the Mallards struck first on a leadoff triple by Kurtis Muller (Iowa) that was followed by a Sabourin base hit to score the game’s first run.

After Graham mowed down the Huskies offense 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fourth, Madison was able to manufacture another run in the fifth inning. Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) led off the frame with a double and advanced to third base on a perfectly laid sacrifice bunt by Muller. The suddenly hot-hitting Sabourin then strolled to the plate and stroked an RBI single to plate Esch and give the Mallards a 2-0 lead.

In the sixth, Joe Patterson (Texas A&M) was hit by a pitch to begin another scoring threat. However, after two flyouts by John Hicks (Virginia) and Jimmy Parque (St. John’s), it appeared that the inning would end with a whimper. It would not, as McClain smacked a double to the outfield to score the not-so-fast Patterson and extend the team’s lead to 3-0.

Duluth would get one back in the seventh inning on an Andy Burns (Kentucky) single to score Pete Cappetta.

In the ninth, things got pretty interesting when Burawa walked Jared Womack (Oklahoma State) to begin the frame and Cappetta followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Zach Walters (San Diego) then singled to score Womack and pull the Huskies within one run at 3-2. But Burawa wasn’t about to get saddled with the blown save and loss. The strong-armed right hander then proceeded to strike out the next two batters in Burns and Nick McCoy (San Diego), setting the stage for a two-outs, first-and-third situation with second baseman Jerico Weitzel coming to the plate. Weitzel was unable to come through, as he sit a groundball to Muller for the game’s final out.

Duluth left seven men on base while the Mallards left eight.

These same two teams will battle once again Thursday at Wade Stadium at 7:05 pm.

Catch all Mallards action on the road by dialing in to FM 100.5 ESPN or by visiting espnmadison.com for a live stream of the game. Or, if you prefer to watch, click the “Game Day” tab on Mallardsbaseball.com to begin your viewing experience today!