by Mike Tews
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. July 3, 2012 – After holding off a furious comeback by the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (15-18), who scored two runs on three hits off reliever John Hamilton (UNC-Charlotte) in the ninth, the Madison Mallards (16-18) held onto a 7-4 win over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (15-18). The win extended the Mallards win streak to a season long four games.
Wearing their retro Muskie jerseys, the Mallards totaled eight hits and held the Rafters to four runs on five hits to take the first game of a two game series, despite coming in with a 3-11 road record.
The Rafters took the early 1-0 lead in the first after right fielder Brandon Downs (Virginia) launched his third home run off Mallards starting pitcher Brandon Barker (Mercer). The homer snapped Barker’s streak of 26 innings without surrendering a home run.
While no runs scored in the second inning, Barker struggled as he walked two more to load the bases and reached the 35 pitch limit per inning, ending his night. Barker went 2.0 innings, giving up one run on one hit, with three walks and two strikeouts.
Even in the midst of adversity, the Mallards responded in the following inning when catcher Jose Trevino (Oral Roberts) nailed a two run homer to centerfield, his fourth of the year, to help the Mallards take a 2-1 lead.
The Rafters promptly answered in the fourth when catcher Nicholas Ammirati hit a sacrifice fly to score Hohl after a late throw to the catcher Trevino to make it 2-2. However, during the same sequence, Trevino also made a great play, throwing designated hitter Aaron Gretz (–) out at second to end the inning.
Tied 2-2, the relentless Mallards regained the lead in the top half of the fifth when right fielder Tyler Marincov (North Florida) registered his league leading 30th RBI of the year in the fifth to score second baseman Luis Munoz (Coffeyville CC).
In the sixth, the Mallards extended their lead 5-2. With Jack Livingston (Northwestern) on third, Rafters starting pitcher Ben Heller (Olivet Nazarene) threw wild pitch behind Munoz, allowing Livingston to score. Then, Marincov continued on in his prolific season, as he hit another RBI sacrifice fly to plate center fielder John Welborn for the 5-2 score (Texas-San Antonio).
The Mallards added two insurance runs in the ninth after Livingston hit a two RBI double.
The runs were critical when Hamilton gave up back-to-back singles and threw two wild pitches that helped the Rafters score two runs in the ninth, but hung on for the Mallards.
Mallards reliever Danny Sullivan (Madison College) earned the win, allowing one run on one hit in 4.0 innings with a walk and four strikeouts.
In his sixth start, Heller was handed his second consecutive loss as he went 5.1 innings, giving up five runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
The Mallards return to the “Duck Pond” on Thursday July 5th to begin a three game series with the Express. That night will be the Jay Hazen Dentistry for Madison Vintage Bobble Boy giveaway and Badger Honor Flight Military Appreciation Night.
The 2012 season is upon us! Single-game tickets are on-sale for all Mallards home games!
The Madison Mallards are part of the 16-team Northwoods League. The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate League in North America.