by Peter Geppert
Madison, WI. July 14, 2012 – Donning their retro Madison Muskies jerseys, the Madison Mallards (7-2, 23-21) took advantage of 11 walks and three errors to score a 13-5 win over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (4-6, 20-23). With the victory the Mallards evened up their three game series with the Rafters and set up a rubber match scenario in tomorrow’s series finale.
First baseman Jeff Zimmerman (Northern Illinois) got the Mallards on the board in the third inning with an RBI groundout to score center fielder John Welborn (Texas-San Antonio) from third base. The RBI, his 30th of the season, gave the Mallards a 1-0 advantage.
The Mallards continued to pour it on that inning when catcher Taylor Gushue (Florida) contributed a two RBI single to make the score 3-0.
The Mallards pulled away in the fourth inning with five runs to increase their lead to eight runs. The outburst was highlighted by RBI hits from second baseman Luis Munoz (Coffeyville CC), Zimmerman, and Gushue.
The Rafters threatened in the fifth inning to cut into their deficit, loading the bases on Mallards starter on Justin Topa (Long Island). The Rafters would have nothing to show for it though, as Topa (2-1) would finish his first start of the season with a strikeout and an inning ending 1-2-3 double play.
In the fifth inning the Mallards would bat around for the second consecutive inning, putting up four more runs to extend their advantage to 12 runs. Right-fielder Tyler Marincov (North Florida) started the scoring with a two RBI double, his first RBIs of the series. Howard and Gushue piled on RBI singles of their own to finish the inning’s scoring.
The Rafters got their first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center field by shortstop Pat Kelly (Nebraska) that allowed right fielder Sean Godfrey (Ball State) to tag up and score.
The Rafters dug into Mallards reliever Anthony Marzi (Connecticut) with a four run seventh inning capitalized by a three run homer by Godfrey.
Topa earned the win for the Mallards after throwing 5.0 strong innings on the mound. The right-hander held the Rafters hitless through four innings, only giving up the one hit in the fifth inning while striking out three on the night.
Rafters starter Ben Heller (Olivet Nazarene) picked up his third loss of the season. The right-hander struggled to find plate umpire Tim Towe’s strike zone, walking seven hitters through 3.0 innings. On the night Heller (3-3) gave up five runs on three hits.
News and Notes:
Welborn continued his dominance of Rafters pitching, going 1-3 with three walks and two stolen bases. The Texas native also contributed offensively, scoring a team high three runs on the night.
The 13 runs were the most scored by the Mallards in the second half, and the most since an 18-4 win over the La Crosse Loggers (4-4, 30-13) on June 29th.
After tonight’s game the Mallards hit the road to finish their series with the Rafters in Wisconsin Rapids. First pitch of that game is scheduled for 1:05 pm.
The Mallards return to the “Duck Pond” on Monday, July 16th to matchup with the Green Bay Bullfrogs (3-5, 25-18). That night will be Madison Parks and Water Park Night at the ballpark, also featuring Millie LEGO kits presented by Zimbrick Honda.
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.