Madison, Wis. – After igniting for 16 runs and six extra-base hits in a victory over the Kalamazoo Growlers Wednesday evening, the Madison Mallards on Thursday will push for their third consecutive win to open the 2015 Northwoods League season against the Wisconsin Woodchucks.
Tonight's contest, scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CT at Warner Park, will be the first tilt of a home-and-away series with Wisconsin to begin the weekend.
Left-handed pitcher Grant Spranger (Southeastern CC) will be tasked with his first start tonight. The 6-foot-3 southpaw makes his summer collegiate debut on the heels of a freshman campaign in which he went 6-1 with a 5.19 ERA and posted a 7.0 K/9 ratio across 10 outings. Spranger, a Bettendorf, Ia. native, tossed two complete games and issued just 2.3 walks per nine frames.
The Woodchucks, who dropped their season opener to Wisconsin Rapids 13-4 on Wednesday, will start Max Biedrzycki (Illinois Springfield) on the bump this evening. The 6-foot-3 right-hander originally from Boilingbrook, Ill., went 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA across 10 starts (53.2 IP) as a junior this past spring, logging one complete game with 64 strikeouts.
Madison's Bullpen Shines: While the Mallards have impressed at the plate, combining to go 25-for-74 (.337) with a slugging percentage of .486, manager Donnie Scott's bullpen has also played a key role in Madison's hot start. Through two games, six relievers have punched out 12 batters and ceded just two earned runs (10.8 K/9, 2.00 ERA) across 10.0 combined innings.
A Not-So-Frosty Performance: At the core of Madison's outpouring of offense has been centerfielder Cameron Frost (Washington State), who boasts a 5-for-9 batting line with a double, three runs scored, two runs batted in and a pair of stolen bases from the No. 9 spot in the order. Frost is the only player in the Northwoods League with at least five hits and two stolen bags thus far.
Welcome to Madison: Left-handed pitcher Matt Bower (Washington State) will don green and yellow for the first time tonight. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound southpaw joins Madison's staff following his junior season in the Pac-12 Conference, during which he went 7-3 with a 10.1 K/9 ratio across 47.0 innings. As a sophomore, Bower set a single-season program record with 31 relief appearances.
Bobblehead Giveaway: As part of the Mallards 2015 promotional schedule, this evening's contest will feature Marshfield Clinic Soccer Millie Bobblehead Giveaway Night presented by WKOW-TV. Bobbleheads will be available on a first come first serve basis at the front gates of the Duck Pond.
Single-game tickets are on sale now. To purchase tickets, log onto 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 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2015, 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 120 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), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit www.MallardsBaseball.com.