By: Dylan Lee – Public Relations
Madison, Wis. – Mallards starting pitcher Alex Pondick (Montevallo) got off to a rocky start against the La Crosse Loggers, but steady relief pitching from Charlie Naso (Illinois) and Tim Black (Central Michigan) gave the Mallards their second win of the 2014 season by the score of 7-5.
In the first, Loggers rightfielder Aaron Knapp (California) led off with a single and stole second, followed by a Soloman Rio Reyes (Kirkwood CC) double that drove in Knapp. Reyes scored on a sacrifice groundout later in the inning. Pondick settled in to retire the three batters after Reyes. Pondick got nine Loggers to ground out in his first four innings of work. Second baseman Adam Walton (Illinois) was responsible for seven of those putouts.
The bats got going for the Mallards in the fourth. Shortstop Michael Handel (Minnesota) walked with one out in the inning, stole second and scored on a ground ball off the bat of catcher Drew Carlile (Bradley). Centerfielder Will Krug (Illinois) then drove in Carlile from second on a liner to right. Krug snuck under the tag at second for his first double of the 2014 season. The speedy Illinois native then scored on an Alex Bacon (North Florida) bloop single. Krug scored in the third as well, stealing both second and third.
Pondick ran into trouble in the fifth, giving up a single, two walks and hitting a batter before being pulled in favor of Naso. Naso pitched a solid relief effort, giving up one hit, one run and striking out one in 2.2 innings of work.
In the second half of the fifth, Loggers starting pitcher Westin Stringer (Jones County JC) walked two Mallards to start off the inning before being pulled. The lefty received the loss, giving up three hits, seven walks and six runs.
Chipping in for the Mallards offensively was first baseman Brian Rodemoyer (Illinois State), going 2-for-4 with one RBI and one walk. Rodemoyer drove in third baseman Trent Higginbothem (North Florida) in the sixth, roping a single in the hole between shortstop and third base to give the Mallards a 7-5 lead.
Both teams went scoreless after the sixth. Black shut down the Loggers, tossing two innings of scoreless ball in the eighth and ninth. Both innings he retired the side, striking out four batters to earn the save.
The Mallards move to 2-1 to pull even with the Loggers in the South Division. The teams will face each other tomorrow at the “Duck Pond.” First pitch is slated for 7:05 pm and gates open at 5:30 pm.
Mallards single game tickets are on-sale now. To purchase tickets, log on to MallardsBaseball.com, call 608-246-4277, or stop by the Mallards ticket office.
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.