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Harold Riggins (NC State) now has a league-leading 44 RBI after adding two on Sunday. Riggins will now head to Thunder Bay, Canada to represent the Mallards in the Northwoods League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby to be held Tuesday, July 21.


Box Score

Madison, WI – July 19, 2009. The Mallards used the power of pink to swing past Eau Claire on Sunday night. Madison donned pink unis and bats to raise awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and it led them to an 11-7 win and a sweep of the Express in front of 6,084 at the “Duck Pond”.

Madison (29-21 overall, 10-6 second half) came from behind to score nine of its 11 runs in the middle three innings and received a great start from Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) to take some much needed momentum into the All-Star break.

“It was a great team effort,” Pitching Coach Jason Immekus said. “We were down early and we chipped away. Esch did a nice job for us.”

The Express, first half South Division champions, took an early lead in the second with two runs. Andy Leonard’s (UIC) sacrifice fly to center got the first tally on the board for Eau Claire and Dominic Piazza’s (Yavapai) single up the middle scored one more to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

Madison looked to have an answer when they loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half of the inning, but Brashad Johnson’s (Des Moines Area CC) sharp grounder to the right side was right at second baseman Drew Heithoff (Augustana) who quickly turned the inning ending double play.

Eau Claire added an unearned run in the third after Nolan Fadness (UW-Oshkosh) reached on a tough error from a bad hop by Mallard first baseman Harold Riggins (NC State). Fadness stole second base and then advanced to third on an errant throw by the catcher John Hicks (Virginia). Kole Calhoun (Arizona State) drove him in with an RBI groundout to make it 3-0 Express.

The Mallards had another chance to answer in the third, but couldn’t convert, leaving two more runners on base and in the fourth, Eau Claire made it three straight innings of at least one run. Piazza’s line drive to right stayed in the air just long enough to get over the short porch measuring 295 feet for a solo home run, his second long ball of the season.

The third time was a charm for the Mallards as they finally came up with an answer to an Eau Claire scoring frame. They responded with four runs on three hits and had a little help with a couple of Express defensive errors to tie the game. Eight batters came to the plate with the first four reaching base and included a pair of RBI singles by Johnson and Kurtis Muller (Iowa).

In the fifth, Jimmy Parque (St. John’s) gave Madison the lead with an RBI double down the right field line, scoring Hicks from second. Troy Channing (St. Mary’s) extended the lead to a 6-4 margin with an RBI double to deep left that narrowly missed leaving the park.

The Mallards made it three straight innings with a run scored and nine unanswered when they added three more in the sixth. Two runs came around on Riggins’ 13th double of the season and he scored from third on Channing’s sacrifice fly.

The Express put up a three-spot in the seventh, chasing Esch from the game after loading the bases with nobody out. J.R. Graham (Santa Clara) relieved the righty and was able to get the next three batters out to retire the side, one on an RBI groundout and another with a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 9-7.

Esch (2-1) allowed seven runs (6 earned) on nine hits while striking out five and walking two over six-plus innings.

Adam McClain (Memphis) connected on a pinch-hit two-out two-run home run in the eighth to give Madison a little more breathing room. It was McClain’s fourth homer of the year and the first for the Mallards since July 11 when they hit two in a 7-4 win over Alexandria.

“In a sense, it’s a bad time to go into the All-Star break because we’re playing so well,” Immekus said of the three days off upcoming. “It’ll be nice to heal some nagging injuries though, and hopefully we can come back [on Thursday] and pick up where we left off.”

J.R. Graham earned the save with three innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit.

Hicks led the hit parade with a 3-hit effort while Parque and Channing each added a pair of base knocks. The Mallards out-hit the Express, 12-10, and matched their third-highest run total of the season. It was the most runs scored in a game for Madison since June 27 when they put up 19 runs in a win over Brainerd.

Madison will have the next three days off due to the All-Star break and with La Crosse’s loss to Rochester on Sunday, the Mallards will enjoy a share of first when the second half picks back up on Thursday.

Riggins, Muller, Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana) and Cody Winiarski (MATC) will participate in the All-Star festivities which will take place on Tuesday at Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Published On: July 20th, 2009