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Published On: August 8th, 2013

By: Ryan Hill — Public Relations

Willmar, Minnesota — August 7, 2013. Madison Mallards (18-15, 39-27) starter Reilly Hovis (North Carolina) had perhaps his best start of the season minus the first inning Wednesday and the Mallards out-hit the Willmar Stingers (14-17, 37-29) despite falling by a score of 4-2.

Joe McCarthy (Virginia) hit a sharp ground ball to first with runners on first and second in the ninth, but Nick Halamandaris (California) couldn’t make the play and allowed Erik Forgione (Washington) to come around to score to pull within two. Bret Dahlson (Loyola Marymount) then came in with runners on first and third and got Drew Weeks (North Florida) to softly line out to short and got Mike Fitzgerald (Indiana State) swinging to end the game.

Hovis eventually struck out the side in the first but hit Michael Suchy (Florida Gulf Coast) to lead off the game and had Danny Brennan (St. Louis) hit a two-run bomb off of him in the next at-bat to give the Stingers a quick 2-0 lead. Zack Tillery (Florida Gulf Coast) was walked and advanced to third on two consecutive balks before Colton Bottomley (Florida Gulf Coast) knocked him in on a single in the next at-bat.

Hovis would only allow three more hits over his last 4.2 innings of work and pitched 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth while the Mallards only managed one run over that span. That came in the fourth off of Stingers starter Sheldon Lee (San Francisco). Alex Bacon (North Florida) reached on a fielder’s choice and Jason Goldstein (Illinois) walked to put runners on first and second with one out before Geonte Jackson (San Jacinto CC) slapped a base knock that scored Bacon.

Lee stranded three batters in that inning, as Brock Stewart (Illinois State) singled later in the inning to load the bases but Lee got Kyle Ruchim (Northwestern) to ground out to second to end the threat.

Lee ended up going six innings and allowed just one run (earned) while scattering eight hits. He walked three and struck out four.

The only other Stingers run came in the bottom of the fifth when an error by Ruchim at short with two outs hurt the Mallards and Hovis. Marc Flores (Hawaii) reached second on the throwing error and Bottomley hit a single up the middle in the next at-bat.

Joe Claver (Illinois State) pitched the final 2.1 innings for the Mallards and allowed just two walks and struck out one.

Jackson and Stewart, the team’s Nos. 7 and 8 hitters, led the way offensively. They both went 2-for-4 and Jackson recorded the lone RBI for the Mallards. Ruchim, the leadoff batter, also had two hits on the night.

No Stingers hitter had multiple hits on the night but Brennan led the way by going 1-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. Tiller ended up going 1-for-2 with a run scored.

The Mallards return home on Saturday, August 10th against the Lakeshore Chinooks for a 6:05 pm game after playing two 7:05 pm games in Mankato on Thursday and Friday.  There will be a Mallards Trading Card Giveaway presented by Charter Communications on Saturday and it will also be Back to School Night! The United Way Community Connection Night will also take place that night and Budweiser will provide post-game fireworks.

The Madison Mallards are your Northwoods League South Division First Half Champions!  Playoff tickets are on-sale now!

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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.