Mallards Look to Quiet Growlers on Opening Night
By: Dylan Lee – Public Relations
Madison, Wis. – The Madison Mallards will open the 2014 season against the Kalamazoo Growlers tonight at Warner Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm. The matchup kicks off a four game homestand for the Mallards. As for the Growlers, the game marks the beginning of their inaugural season.
Last year, the Mallards won the Northwoods League Championship, boasting a 41-29 record in the regular season and completing the postseason with a two game sweep of the Duluth Huskies. The championship was the Mallards first title since 2004, and manager Donnie Scott’s second league title, his first with the Mallards.
The Growlers enter the 2014 season as a new addition to the Northwoods League. They are the first baseball team in Kalamazoo since 2011, taking over for the disbanded Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League. Led by coach Joe Carbone of the Ohio University Bobcats, the Growlers look to clip the Mallards wings tonight and start their inaugural season strong.
Attempting to stop the Growlers in their tracks is starting pitcher Christian Taugner, a 6’2” 190 pound righty from Brown University. The Roselle, Illinois native led the Bears with a 2.39 ERA, 49 strikeouts and 52.2 innings pitched, and allowed just 14 earned runs and nine walks. He earned Ivy League Pitcher and Co-Rookie of the Week honors after limiting the South Carolina Gamecocks to just one run over seven innings in his collegiate debut.
The Growlers are schedule to start southpaw Caleb Baragar out of Jackson Community College in Jackson, Michigan. The 6’4” 205 pound hurler was 4-1 in nine appearances, carried a 5.24 ERA and struck out 50 batters in his 2014 season with the Jets.
Entering opening night, the Mallards are without 11 players, all of which are participating in the 2014 Division 1 NCAA Tournament. Matt Thaiss, Tony Butler, and Tyler Allen (Virginia), Tyler Buffet and Andrew Rosa (Oklahoma State), Joe Dudek and A.J. Bogucki (North Carolina), Pete Alonso and Kirby Snead (Florida), Austin Barr (Stanford), and Corey Ray (Texas A&M) all received berths into the 2014 NCAA Baseball Tournament. Regional games start May 30th, followed by Super Regionals. The College World Series Tournament starts June 14th and games run through June 23rd or 24th.
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 Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), 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 MallardsBaseball.com.