Fitzgerald Gives Mallards Walk-Off Win
By: Ryan Hill — Public Relations
Madison, WI — July 7, 2013. The Madison Mallards (3-2, 24-14) were inches away from a walk-off home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but Mike Fitzgerald (Indiana State) knocked Brock Stewart (Illinois State) in on a two-out single three batters later to give the Mallards a 7-6 win over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (1-3, 20-19).
Mallards leadoff hitter Tate Matheny (Missouri State) crushed a 2-2 offering from Rafters reliever JP Feyereisen (UW-Stephens Point) deep to left field in the bottom of the ninth, but the towering shot hit off the very top of the wall and bounced back into play, giving the center fielder a double. Stewart then tapped a grounder to the pitcher, who caught Matheny in a rundown to put one out on the scoreboard. Stewart advanced to second on the play.
After a Drew Weeks (North Florida) pop out, Fitzgerald took a full-count pitch and knocked it over Rafters second baseman Erik Payne’s (Virginia Tech) head.
Feyereisen was tagged with his first loss of the season and drops to 3-1 on the season, while Mallards reliever Danny Sullivan (Davenport) recorded the victory and improves to 3-0.
The Rafters threatened in the top of the eighth by loading the bases with two outs. Danny Sullivan (Davenport) entered with runners on the corners but walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. He then caught Robbie Coman (Virginia) looking to end the inning.
The Mallards other runs came in the sixth and seventh innings when they scored three in each frame. The Rafters also scored three runs on two separate occasions in the fourth and the seventh innings.
The Mallards broke up a no-hit bid from Rafters starter John Kravetz (Illinois) in the bottom of the sixth and managed to score three more in the inning. Jeff Zahn (Indiana State) put the Mallards on the scoreboard by hitting a sacrifice fly to score Matheny, who broke up the no-no to lead off the inning.
Mallards starter Luke Staub (George Washington) gave up three runs (all earned) on seven hits in five innings of work. He issued no walks and struck out seven. Ben Neumann (Northern Illinois) and Jack Livingston (Northwestern) also made appearances on the mound for the Mallards. They each threw 1.1 innings, with Neumann allowing two runs (both earned) and Livingston one run (unearned).
Fitzgerald led all Mallards hitters by going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Matheny and Stewart also registered a pair of hits in the contest. Matheny went 2-for-5 with two runs scored while Stewart finished 2-for-5 with two doubles, three runs scored and an RBI.
Payne hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning for the Rafters and finished 1-for-3 with 3 RBIs and a run scored.
The Mallards hit the road for one away game against the Eau Claire Express Monday night at 6:35 pm before returning to the “Duck Pond” Tuesday for the second game in the series against the Express. First pitch for Tuesday is 7:05 pm.
Tuesday night is the Dane County Regional Airport Balsa Wood Airplane Giveaway. Fans will have the chance to win $5,000 in a postgame airplane toss. It will also be Social Media Night as well as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Communication Connection Night.
The Madison Mallards are your Northwoods League South Division First Half Champions! Playoff tickets will go on sale Monday July 8th at noon!
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 Baseball League in North America. In 2013, the Northwoods League is celebrating its 20th season.