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Pivotal three-game series vs. Bullfrogs starts Thursday

Yesterday’s Box Score

By Matt Schneider, PR Intern

MADISON, WI – August 4, 2011. The Madison Mallards face the Green Bay Bullfrogs in 7:05 p.m. game Thursday night at the “Duck Pond” to start one of the biggest series of the 2011 season. After going 7-3 in their last 10 games and winning seven of eight, the Mallards find themselves right in the thick of the playoff hunt, only 1.5 games behind the first-place Bullfrogs.

Green Bay took over first place after a double-header sweep of the Wisconsin Woodchucks Wednesday night.

Both teams bring interesting dynamics into the series.

The Mallards have been one of the league’s top offensive units all season, hitting .270 as a team with 40 home runs and 298 runs scored. Leading the Mallards over their seven games has been a collection of six players all batting over .300. Justin Parr (Illinois) leads the pack with a .458 average, and it was his pinch-hit at bat that provided the game-winning run in Wednesday’s victory over Wisconsin Rapids. Parr is followed by Mike McQuillan (Iowa), who has hit .421 and has some amazing defensive plays over the last week. Zack Powers (Florida), Andrew Wasmund (Madison College), Andrew Barna (Davidson) and Michael Handel (Minnesota) have also been very productive at the plate for the Ducks.

The pitching staff has also taken the spotlight at times for Madison, especially the bullpen. Relievers Matt Milroy (Illinois) and Tony Bryant (Oregon State) lead a group of relievers who have tallied 16 saves this season. Milroy has a team-high six saves, and Bryant is close behind with five.

Offensively, Green Bay is hitting .256 as a team and excels on the bases, leading the South Division in stolen bases. The team is led by a trio of hitters batting at least .300 this season. Paul Hoenecke (Wisconsin – Milwaukee), Ryan Schilter (Concordia University), and Jacob May (Coastal Carolina) are hitting a combined .302 with six home runs and 39 runs batted in. They also have hit 21 of the team’s impressive 92 doubles this season. Phillip Ervin (Samford) is a force to be reckoned with as well, batting .298 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 30 games.

Green Bay’s pitching is what has gotten the team far this season. The staff has a division-best 3.43 earned run average and is led by three of the top pitchers in the entire league. Andy Hunter (Gonzaga), Cory Kyle (Arkansas State), Tim Giel (Columbia) have all been lights out this season for the Bullfrogs, with a combined record of 15-5 and all three have an ERA under 2.60.

The Mallards will not face the three pitchers Thursday, but will go up against another strong arm in AJ Gaura (Iowa Western Community College). Gaura is 1-3 this season, but has an impressive 2.08 earned run average through 26 total innings pitched. Gaura has not pitched since July 29 and has not faced the Mallards this season.

Madison will counter with a strong arm of their own in left-hander Estevan Uriegas (Texas A&M). Uriegas is 3-1 on the season in seven appearances and has a 2.27 ERA. The Mallards are 4-3 when Uriegas pitches. The second-year Mallard has faced Green Bay once this season and was defeated by the Bullfrogs 10-0 on July 8, but has since caught fire, winning each of his last three starts.

Thursday’s game is the first of a three-game set between the playoff contenders. Friday’s game two will start at 7:05 p.m. at the “Duck Pond,” and the series finale will be played in Green Bay at 6:05 p.m.

The Mallards will also be giving out Cheesehead Maynard Bobbleheads to the first 1,000 fans Thursday courtesy of TDS. It is also Cheese and Burger Appreciation Night presented by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and Round the Bend will provide pre-game entertainment with a concert.

Scoreboard Watch
Entering Thursday’s games, the Mallards sit just 1.5 games back of first place in the South Division. Three teams (Green Bay, La Crosse, and Battle) are ahead of Madison in the standings and all face challenging matchups.

Battle Creek: at Eau Claire (5:05 p.m. and 7:35 p.m., Carson Park)
La Crosse: vs. Wisconsin (7:05 p.m.)

The Mallards are also one-half game ahead of Waterloo in the standings.
Waterloo: at Wisconsin Rapids (7:05 p.m., Witter Field)

All of the intriguing action can be followed online by visiting  www.northwoodsleague.com.

Upcoming Promotions
Friday, August 5 (vs. Green Bay, 7:05 p.m.)

Physicians Plus Maynard & The Healthy Snack Racers Bobblehead (First 1,000 fans).

Free shuttle from and back to the Nitty Gritty (downtown)! Bus will leave the Nitty Gritty at 6 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 7 (vs. Battle Creek, 5:05 p.m.)
Jon Lancaster Toyota Baseball Card Night (First 1,000 fans).

Charter Communications Princess Night. Kids 12 and under in costume receive a free standing room only ticket.

Thursday, August 11 (vs. Wisconsin, 7:05 p.m.)
“Vegetarian Food Appreciation Night”.

UW Health Ladies Night.

In-game entertainment provided by the Inflatamaniacs.

Free shuttle from and back to The Brass Ring (downtown)! Bus will leave at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, August 12 (vs. Wisconsin, 7:05 p.m.)
Mallards Founding Partners Fan Appreciation Night.

Rayovac Flashlight Night (First 1,000 fans).

St. Mary’s Sun Prairie Emergency Center Community Night. Receive 2-for-1 field box tickets with proof of residency in Waunakee (day of game–in-person only).

Free shuttle from and back to the Nitty Gritty (downtown)! Bus will leave the Nitty Gritty at 6 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

The Madison Mallards are members of the 16-team summer collegiate Northwoods League. Great seats remain for all games! Fans can purchase tickets one of three ways: 1) online by clicking here, 2) over the phone by calling the ticket office at 608.316.DUCK (3825), or 3) in-person at the “Duck Pond.” Group tickets, including hospitality areas perfect for company outings are on sale as well.