By: Ryan Hill — Public Relations
Mankato, Minnesota — August 8, 2013. The Madison Mallards (18-15, 39-27) and the Mankato MoonDogs (20-11, 37-29) will square off for the second time in less than two weeks Thursday night in Mankato. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
The Mallards are just coming off of a series split with the inter-division Willmar Stingers after being swept by them last week. They won the first game by a score of 4-3 but fell last night by a score of 4-2 despite out-hitting the Stingers 10-6.
Three of those runs came in the first inning off of Mallards starter Reilly Hovis (North Carolina), who wound up pitching one of his more impressive games once he settled down. He plunked Stingers leadoff hitter Michael Suchy (Florida Gulf Coast) and gave up a two-run home run to Danny Brennan (St. Louis) in the next at-bat. Colton Bottomley (Florida Gulf Coast) recorded the third RBI of the inning a few batters later.
Hovis would only allow three more hits over his next 4.2 innings but the Mallards only struck once before the ninth. That came in fourth on a Geonte Jackson (San Jacinto CC) base knock that pushed Alex Bacon (North Florida), who had reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning, across the plate.
Joe McCarthy ripped a sharp grounder to Stingers first baseman Nick Halamandaris (California) with runners on first and second, but Halamandaris couldn’t come up with it and allowed a runner to score. Bret Dahlson (Loyola Marymount) then came in for the Stingers and got Drew Weeks (North Florida) to softly line out to short and got Mike Fitzgerald (Indiana State) swinging to end it.
Cam Verbeke (Illinois State) will try for his sixth win in five tries by starting on the mound tonight for the Mallards. The 6’1,” 200-pound junior is 0-3 in his last three starts but has allowed more than two earned runs only once over that span. He allowed two runs (one earned) on just four hits over five innings in his last start, which was a 4-0 La Crosse win on August 3rd at the ‘Duck Pond.’ So far this season with the Mallards, Verbeke is 5-4 with a 3.52 ERA and has 55 strikeouts in just 51 innings of work.
Steady as She Goes
Despite winning only five of their last 13 games, the Mallards bats have still been fairly productive. Last night’s matchup against the Stingers was a perfect example, as the Mallards had no trouble getting hits and base runners but couldn’t find the clutch hit to push them across. The Mallards still lead the South Division in hitting by a considerable margin, as the Eau Claire Express (.266) are second in the division and trail the Mallards mark of .282. Mankato, meanwhile, is tied for the league lead with a .284 team batting average and share the spot with the Alexandria Blue Anchors.
The Mallards return home on Saturday, August 10th against the Lakeshore Chinooks for a 6:05 pm game after the series finale against Mankato on 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!
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.