by Peter Geppert
Madison, WI – July 7, 2012. The Madison Mallards (2-0, 18-19) go for the three game sweep of the Eau Claire Express (0-2, 11-25) tonight at the “Duck Pond”. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 pm.
On Friday the Mallards took the second game of the series in a wild contest that ended in the 12th inning with a walk-off two run home run by shortstop Tom Verdi (Connecticut). The home run, his first of the season, allowed the Mallards to win in walk-off fashion for the fourth time this season. Verdi’s blast was just one of five home runs on the night, with others coming off the bats of designated hitter Tyler Marincov (North Florida), first baseman Jeff Zimmerman (Northern Illinois), and two by Express right fielder Josh Scheffert (Nebraska).
Marincov’s home run in the fifth inning, his 10th of the year, set the new Mallards’s single season home run record which had previously been held by three former Mallards.
Right-hander Matt LaMothe (Georgia State) will be on the hill for the Mallards tonight. LaMothe (3-2) is coming off his roughest start of the season in which he allowed six runs on seven hits to the La Crosse Loggers (1-1, 27-10) during the Mallards 9-8 win on June 30th. Despite the outing he was still able to rack up seven strikeouts, bringing his season total to 43 on the year, which is fourth in the Northwoods League among starters. Even more impressive than his strikeout total has been his command on the mound, walking only 13 hitters through six starts.
Countering for the Express is left-hander Andrew Hedrick (Iowa). In his last start Hedrick (1-2) gave up three runs on five hits and struck out five during the Express’s 7-6 win over the Wisconsin Woodchucks (2-0, 19-18). So far this season he has established himself as the ace of the Express pitching staff. He comes into tonight’s matchup with a 2.18 ERA, which is second in the South Division.
Hedrick and LaMothe have already squared off once this season, with LaMothe emerging as the victor and Hedrick taking the loss in the Mallards’s 3-2 win over the Express on June 24th.
Finding a Way to Win:
Not only have the Mallards walked-off four times this year, but it has also been in four different ways against four different teams. So far this season, the Mallards have won games with a single, a fielder’s choice, an error, and a home run.
Catching the Express:
Zimmerman has owned Express pitching this season. In six games the lefty is hitting .480 with 12 hits in 25 at-bats that include two home runs and seven RBIs.
After tonight’s game the Mallards embark on their longest road trip of the season. The team begins the road trip with a two game series against the Green Bay Bullfrogs (1-1, 23-14) before traveling to Battle Creek for a two game series with the Battle Creek Bombers (0-2, 14-23).
The Mallards return to the “Duck Pond” on Friday, July 13th to take on the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (1-1, 17-19). That night will feature the Half Pint Brawlers Midget Wrestler presented by MINI of Madison.
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.