Madison, WI – January 7, 2014. The 2013 Summer Collegiate World Series Champion Madison Mallards will return three key contributors to the team in 2014. Outfielder Alex Bacon (North Florida) and pitchers Ben Neumann (Northern Illinois) and Charlie Naso (Illinois) will be back in Madison again next season.
Bacon, a 5'9", 165-pound redshirt junior from Tampa, FL will join the Mallards for the second season after his post-season heroics helped the Mallards win their second championship in team history. Bacon hit .279 with two home runs and five RBIs in 12 regular season games for the Mallards in 2013 after joining the team in the second half of the season. He came through when it mattered most in the post-season when he hit .385 with two home runs and eight RBIs in just 13 at-bats.
Bacon played just 16 games for North Florida in 2013 before injuring his wrist. He received a medical redshirt for the lost season.
As a sophomore in 2012, he hit .272 with 30 runs scored, six home runs, and 25 RBIs while starting in all 55 games. Following his sophomore season he played for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, also of the Northwoods League. He was named a mid-season Northwoods League All-Star, and led the team in hitting at .310. He also hit eight home runs and 32 RBIs while scoring 40 runs in 51 games.
After his freshman season in 2011 Bacon was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, a National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Freshman All-American (Second Team) and the Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Year. He batted .352 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs. He tacked on 46 runs scored, 18 doubles and boasted a .588 slugging percentage and a .421 on base percentage.
Neumann, a 6'1", 185-pound junior from Verona, WI will return to Madison for his second season after bolstering the Mallards bullpen in 2013. He appeared in 20 games and finished the season with a 1.96 ERA in 36.2 innings pitched. He had 27 strikeouts and a 3-2 record.
As a sophomore with the Huskies, Neumann had an 0-2 record in 21 appearances, including one start. His freshman year he made 13 appearances, all out of the bullpen and had 18 strikeouts in just 14.1 innings pitched. He played baseball at Verona High School where he was named the Big 8 Player of the Year after going 8-2 with 93 strikeouts and a 2.25 ERA.
Naso, a 6'2", 255-pound redshirt sophomore from Orland Park, Illinois also joined the Mallards late in the season in 2013 and was a key piece in the championship run. He appeared in five games, pitching nine innings with a 5.00 ERA and 1-1 record while striking out nine.
As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Naso appeared in five games for the Illini, pitching seven innings and finished with a 3.86 ERA. He redshirted his freshman season in 2012. Naso spent the summer of 2012 pitching for the Southland Vikings of the Midwest Collegiate League. He went 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched. He appeared in ten games, all out of the bullpen.
The Madison Mallards are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including MLB All-Stars Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYY), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube Channel. For more information, visit www.mallardsbaseball.com.