Listed at a generous 5’9″, Jimmy Parque (St. John’s) has filled in nicely at the top of the order for Manager CJ Thieleke’s club to help cope with the loss of Kurtis Muller. With four hits tonight, including his first home run of the season, Parque now has eight hits in his last three games.
St. Cloud, MN – August 3, 2009. Mother Nature apparently didn’t want to see what St. Cloud third baseman Tony Renda (Juniperro High School) would do with the bases loaded and his team down by three runs. A severe downpour halted play with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning before the game was soon called and the Mallards deemed victorious over the River Bats 7-4 to move Madison back into first place as La Crosse lost in Battle Creek.
Mallards starting pitcher Alex Rivers (Santa Clara) received his third win (3-2) of the season after allowing two runs in six innings of work.
The Mallards mounted a threat right away in the first inning as Jimmy Parque (St. John’s) led-off the game with a single and the next batter, hot-hitting John Hicks (Virginia), added a single of his own to extend his hitting streak to eight games. However, Parque rounded second base too wide and was tagged out for the first out. During Jerrud Sabourin’s (Indiana) at-bat, Hicks was then cut-down trying to steal second and there was quickly two outs. Sabourin would then fly out to left field to end the inning and early threat.
After Rivers shut down the River Bats’ offense in the bottom half of the first it should be noted that the Mallards top half of the second didn’t net a single hit, but all three balls hit by Joe Patterson (Texas A&M), Troy Channing (St. Mary’s), and Harold Riggins (NC State) were three line-drive outs that couldn’t have been hit any harder. Patterson hit a hooking line drive to right field; Channing a line drive right at the left-fielder; and Riggins, a screamer that nearly went right through the body of pitcher Hunter Carnevale (Pacific) before the 1-3 putout was recorded.
St. Cloud would put the game’s first crooked number on the scoreboard in the in the bottom half on a Matt Fanelli (Washington State) double to score the speedy Dan Betteridge (Rutgers) who was on with a one-out single. Fanelli was throw out at third base by Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) on the relay throw by center fielder Parque after the ball was hit a few feet from the top of the wall.
At 7:44 p.m. (CST), the out-of-town scoreboard showed both first-place clubs leading as La Crosse was on top of Battle Creek 4-to-3 in the fifth inning, and the Rochester Honkers led the Thunder Bay Border Cats 6-to-4 in the sixth.
Madison threatened in their next at-bat as Chris Barker (MATC) drew a two-out walk and advanced to second on a Kurt Schlangen (Minnesota) passed ball. Parque then looped a single to left field and it appeared the Mallards would tie the game, but a great throw by Matt Summers (UC Irvine) would cut down a headfirst-sliding Barker to record the final out in the inning.
In the fifth the Mallards were able to load the bases as Channing drew a lead-off walk, Adam McClain was hit by a pitch, and Barker was walked for the second straight time. However, with two outs, Parque hit a soft ground ball to second baseman Betteridge to end the threat.
St. Cloud with add another run in the bottom half, as Rivers lost command quickly and loaded the bases by allowing a lead-off base hit and walking two more. Feared hitter Jonathan Roof (Michigan State) then came to the plate and Rivers walked him too, that scored Zac Richard (Xavier). Luckily, he would get All-Star Danny Oh (California Berkeley) to ground out to second baseman McClain to end the inning. The River Bats now led 2-0 and felt good after capitalizing on Rivers’ wildness.
The Mallards would finally answer in the sixth inning, and in a big way, as Hicks drew a lead-off walk and All-Star Sabourin calmly smoked a double to deep left-field to pull the Mallards within a run and rudely welcome new pitcher A Burkett into the game. Patterson then did the same with a two-bagger of his own to score Sabourin and tie the game at two. Channing next drew a walk as Patterson was able to move to third a few pitches earlier on a passed ball.
Up came the league’s RBI leader in Riggins but he was only able to muster a weak pop fly to the shortstop for the first out of the inning who then threw the ball away to score Patterson and give the Mallards their first lead of the game. Ultra utility-man Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) then struck out swining, but the ball got past Schlangen and Esch was able to advance to first while Channing moved from second to third. Alex Jones (Northern Illinois) would then enter the game to hit for McClain and hit an RBI single to plate Channing and give the Mallards a 4-2 advantage. Parque then smacked his third hit of the game to load the bases but Hicks would then strike out to end the monster frame.
It was then announced by Madison play-by-play announcer Gabe Neitzel that Battle Creek had defeated the Loggers. The Bombers scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and held on to win the game. The Mallards were now tied with La Crosse.
Madison’s bullpen would be the story in the seventh and eighth innings as both J.R. Graham (Santa Clara) and Patrick Lala (Kirkwood CC) pitched scoreless full innings to preserve the score. Lala actually struck out the side after walking the leadoff man in Oh.
The score would remain the same until the eighth inning when a source of power came from an unexpected player in the white-hot hitting Parque, who would hook a line drive down the right field corner and over the wall for his first home run of the season and fourth hit of the game. The solo shot extended the Mallards lead to 7-2.
In the ninth, Sabourin would match Parque’s total by adding his fourth hit of the game as well, but would be erased when the next batter in Patterson grounded into the 4-6-3 double play. Channing would fly out to right field to end the inning.
St. Cloud didn’t go away quietly in the ninth, however. In a non-save situation Mallards reliever Dan Burawa (St. John’s) entered the game and proceeded to load the bases on a couple of hits followed by a walk. He then gave up a single to Roof that scored Eric Marzec (Youngstown State) who had recorded a base hit of his own to begin the inning. Burawa’s night would end there as reliever Brad Allen (Elgin CC) entered the game to face the All-Star in Oh. Trying to work quickly and through the driving rain, Allen didn’t have much success, and walked Oh to score Adam Weisenberger (Miami of Ohio) and move the River Bats within three runs at 7-4. Luckily, for the Mallards, even heavier rains then moved in and after a short delay the umpires decided to call the game after the playing surface was deemed unplayable. The next hitter in Renda would never get a chance to contibute in the building rally. It was official; the Mallards had just defeated the River Bats to move back into first place.
Meanwhile, in the North Division, the first place Rochester Honkers (19-10) defeated the Thunder Bay Border Cats 7-6 to push their lead over the River Bats to 1.5 games with seven contests left in the second half.
These same two teams will battle again on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Catch all Mallards action on the road by dialing in to FM 100.5 ESPN or by visiting espnmadison.com.
Madison returns home to the “Duck Pond” for four games beginning this Friday, August 7.
Friday’s promotions include the Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar Mini Bat giveaway (first 500 kids) and the Dejope Gaming Little Bit of Vegas Night with a special appearance by The King!
Plenty of great seats are still available for all four of the Mallards remaining home games, and can be purchased online by clicking here or by calling the box office at 608.246.4277 today!