Mallards score four in ninth to stun Holt, Loggers, in 9-6 victory

Center fielder Jimmy Parque (St. John’s) had three hits and score three times in Wednesday’s comeback victory.

Box Score

La Crosse, WI – July 15, 2009. After coughing up a one-run lead in the eighth inning, the Mallards stormed back in the ninth to score four runs off La Crosse’s closer Greg Holt (North Carolina) to defeat the Loggers 9-6 at Copeland park and give the team a share of first place heading into a 4-game homestand beginning Thursday.

After La Crosse’s starter Richie Erath (Florida Gulf Coast) breezed through the first nine Mallards batters in order, the Loggers offense then took over and hung the game’s first crooked number in the bottom of the third inning.

Catcher Cory Burleson (Nebraska) started the frame with a base hit to right and then advanced to second base on a sacrifice by Austin Knight (Dallas Baptist). Third baseman Chris Engell (San Diego) was next, and belted a single to center field to score Burleson and give the Loggers a 1-0 lead.

La Crosse (8-4, 29-17 overall) would add two more in the fourth on a Burleson single to right-center field that scored Nick Baligod (Oral Roberts) and Thomas Collins (Nebraska) who both were on base because of walks. Baligod scored easily but Collins was only able to cross home plate thanks to an error by Mallards center fielder Jimmy Parque (St. John’s).

The Mallards (8-4, 27-19 overall) finally recorded a hit in the fifth inning on a leadoff base knock by catcher John Hicks (Virginia). Next came Parque, who would vindicate himself with another single to put runners on second and third after an errant throw by the right fielder. Then inning got strange. During Troy Channing’s (St. Mary’s) at-bat, a wild pitch scooted away from catcher Burleson, but they were able to tag Hicks out trying to score, 2-1 to those scoring at home. Channing ended up being walked. Up came shortstop Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) who belted a double to left field to score Parque and put the Mallards on the board. After an Adam McClain (Memphis) walk, leadoff man Kurtis Muller (Iowa) then stroked a single to left field to score Esch. Channing had scored a few pitches earlier on a wild pitch by M Bywater. Madison would add one more on a ground ball to the Loggers first baseman by left fielder Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana) to score McClain and give the Mallards a 4-3 lead.

In the sixth inning, Parque hit a two-out single and advanced to second on a passed ball. He then scored after the Loggers defense imploded on a two-error play on a ball hit by Channing, giving the team a 5-3 advantage.

Madison would hold a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but that’s where things got rough. With Mallards reliever Brandon Johnson (Western Carolina) now in the game, La Crosse’s Holt led off the frame with a single. Johnson was able to then strike out Baligod. After Holt stole second base, Meredith answered with an RBI base hit to tie the game. An error by Esch then put Robert Abel (San Francisco) on base along with Meredith advancing to second. During the next two at-bats to Burleson and Knight, Johnson couldn’t locate the strikezone consistently, and walked both, allowing another run to score and the Loggers re-took the lead, 6-5.

Not so fast said the Mallards offense and Parque.

With things looking dismal heading into the final inning against La Crosse’s all-world closer Holt, Parque calmly led off the comeback with a single, his third hit of the game. Channing then eyed a five-pitch walk to put two men on ahead of Esch, who would fly out weakly to the first baseman. Defensive replacement Chris Barker (MATC) who relieved McClain in right field, then smacked a single to load the bases. Team leader Muller clutched-up once again and hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Parque and re-tie the game at 6.

They were far from done.

Sabourin then got into the scoring fest by hitting a single to score both Channing and Barker. Home run derby participant Harold Riggins (NC State) then added a hit of his own to put two men on. Up came Joe Patterson (Texas A&M) who recorded the Mallards’ fifth hit of the inning to score Sabourin and give the team a nice 9-6 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.

The last frame got off to an inauspicious start when All-Star Aaron Gates hit a solo home run on the first pitch from closer Dan Burawa (St. John’s) to tighten the Mallards lead to 9-7. But Burawa would bear down and only allow a base hit to Justin Preckajlo before recording the final three outs for his fourth save of the season.

Mallards starting pitcher J.R. Graham (Santa Clara) received the no-decision after allowing a season-high eight walks and four runs on four hits. Right-handed reliever Brad Allen (Elgin CC) picked up his first win (1-3) of the year after recording the last out in the eighth inning.

Meanwhile Holt (0-2) took the loss for the Loggers after allowing four runs on four hits to blow the save.

Madison now heads home to the “Duck Pond” for four games beginning Thursday at 7:05 p.m. against the Green Bay Bullfrogs. Thursday is part three of the five-part “Bobblehead Series” presented by WKOW-TV with the first 1,000 fans receive a “Vintage Bobble Boy Doll,” courtesy of Jay Hazen/Dentistry for Madison. Former Houston Astros great Jimmy “The Toy Cannon” Wynn will also be in attendance to sign free autographs.

Please check the rest of the promotional schedule by clicking here for details about this weekend’s giveaways and entertainment.

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