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Spranger Tosses for Mallards on Star Wars Night

Spranger tosses for MAD CROPPED

Madison, Wis. – On Thursday, the Madison Mallards (7-1) will pursue their eighth victory of the summer against the Green Bay Bullfrogs (3-5) at the Duck Pond. Tonight’s contest will be the finale of a two-game home set with Green Bay for the Mallards, who secured a 4-2 victory in the opener behind an admirable performance – 5.0 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K – from starting pitcher Matt Bower (Washington State). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

Mallards field manager Donnie Scott will send Grant Spranger (Southeastern CC) to the mound in tonight’s series finale. The 6-foot-1 left-handed pitcher received a no-decision in his first start of the summer May 28 against Wisconsin Rapids, compiling five innings with one hit and one earned run over five frames. As a sophomore this spring, Spranger went 6-1 with a 5.19 ERA across 11 games (10 starts), striking out 7.0 batters per nine innings.

To counter, the Bullfrogs will assign Alex Martinez (De Anza College) with his first start of the summer. Martinez, a 6-foot-0 right-handed pitcher originally from Union City, Calif., has twice been called upon this season out of Green Bay’s bullpen, during which he allowed two earned runs over a combined six innings (6.00 ERA). His sophomore collegiate campaign this spring yielded a 2.38 ERA and 7.2 K/9 ratio across 17 games (79.1 IP).

From the Manager: “If he can repeat his performance from last time, it’ll be great,” Scott said of Spranger. “He worked the bottom of the zone well, he had great movement and was throwing strikes. He’ll get a lot of ground balls with his sinker. He’s not going to overpower you; he just has just a lot of movement and can’t elevate the baseball. If he can get that done, we’ll be alright.”

Bower-ful on the Mound: Matt Bower (Washington State) manufactured one of the most memorable Mallards pitching performances in recent memory on the mound Wednesday evening, fanning 10 hitters across five shutout frames in route to his first winning decision of the season. The 6-foot-5 southpaw threw 48 of 66 (72.7 percent) of his offerings for strikes, totaling an impressive nine (13.6 percent) for swings-and-misses.

Streakin’ Scott: Mallards left-fielder Scott Tyler (Ball State) received his sixth start of the season in the series opener, going 1-for-2 with a line-drive double and walk from the sixth spot in Madison’s order. The impressive part? Tyler has now hit safely in each game this summer and boasts team-best marks in on-base percentage (.500) and on-base-plus slugging percentage (1.111). His .333 average ties for second-highest.

Two Strikes, Too Easy: Three of Madison’s seven base hits Wednesday night came in two-strike counts, including Jean Ramirez’s (Illinois State) three-run home run (on an 0-2 count) in the bottom of the third inning.

Tonight’s Promotion: In honor of Star Wars Night at the Duck Pond, Mallards players will wear R2-D2 jerseys to be auctioned off in front team store during tonight’s contest. A portion of the auction proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and the Pinney Library Capital Campaign. It will also be Cutter Night at the ballpark, with Cutter bug-repellant bottles available at the front gates of the stadium while supplies last.

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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 (WAS) 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