Preview: Game on! Mallards open final 4-game homestand in need of wins

Be sure to try your arm at the Mallards Speed Pitch tonight for the chance to pitch against Hall of Famer Paul Molitor during the MLB Alumni Game on Friday, August 21. Receive three chances for only $1!

Last night’s Box Score

Madison, Wis. – August 7, 2009. The Mallards need to rebound after a 12-2 defeat to Rochester last night. They’ll have that opportunity during the next four nights as they host the final four games of the regular season. Eau Claire will be first up with a two-game series beginning on Friday, followed by another two-game set on Sunday against Green Bay to determine the team’s fate.

Rochester flexed its muscles with a 12-2 win over Madison, dropping the visitors out of first place and one-half game behind South Division rival, La Crosse on Thursday night.

Madison ran into one of, if not, the hottest team in the Northwoods League on Thursday night and had to face one of the more prestigious power pitchers in the NWL as well. Zach Robertson’s (Iowa) prestige grew as he struck out 11 batters to become the League’s all-time strikeout leader with 251 punch outs in 35 starts for the Honkers. He surrendered a fourth inning two-run home run to Adam McClain (Memphis), his only blemish of the evening.

McClain helped the Mallards gain momentum in pulling them to within 3-2 in the fourth and despite a rough first inning, Mallards south paw, Matt Jansen (Purdue), was in the midst of retiring 12 consecutive batters. His fortunes would run astray in the sixth when the Honkers tallied five runs to take a commanding lead and they wouldn’t look back.

Four games remain for Madison to make up ground on South Division leader La Crosse, who also plays its final games at home. Eau Claire, the South’s first half champion, will be first up for the Mallards on Friday night in the first of a two-game set.

Eau Claire, losers in three of its last four games, will send right-hander Trent Blank (Baylor) to the mound. Blank is 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA over 39.2 innings this season.

The Mallards will counter with two-way player in right-hander Jacob Esch (Georgia Tech) who is 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA over 50 innings, including eight starts. In his last start on August 1 against the Waterloo Bucks, Esch picked up his third win of the season after allowing two earned runs over seven innings of work, while striking out six batters.

First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. at the “Duck Pond” and will be Dejope Gaming Little Bit of Vegas Night. It will feature the King as well as the much-anticipated candy drop following the game. Boston’s Restaurant and Sports Bar will sponsor a mini bat giveaway to the first 500 kids and fans will have a chance to pitch to Hall of Famer Paul Molitor during the MLB Alumni Game on August 21, click here to learn how.

Great seats are available for all four games and can be purchased online by clicking here or over the phone by calling the box office at 608.246.4277 today!

After finally getting over his mid-season struggles, sophomore Adam McClain (Memphis) has turned it on as of late. In his last 10 games, McClain is hitting a team-best .364 (8-for-22) with two home runs, five RBI and seven runs scored. His two-run blast last night was his sixth of the season.

Taking Over the Lead-Off Spot
Jimmy Parque (St. John’s) has stepped up admirably in the lead-off spot following the injury to Kurtis Muller (Iowa). Parque has a .325 batting average (13-for-40) over the past 10 games and closed out the road portion of the schedule with a nine-game hitting streak in which he hit .474 (18-for-38) with four extra base hits and 11 runs scored. He has a .357 average vs. Eau Claire this season, the Mallards’ next opponent.