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Mallards Look to Rebound Against Stingers

Mallards look to rebond against stingers CROPPEDMadison, Wis. – Following their first home loss of the season Thursday night, the Madison Mallards (7-2) will look for a rebound performance on Friday at the Duck Pond against the Willmar Stingers (4-4) of the Northwoods League’s Western Division. 

Tonight will be Oscar Mayer Bacon Appreciation and Wisconsin Lottery Night at the ballpark, with Charter Communications presenting the ZOOperstars. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Mallards field manager Donnie Scott has slotted right-handed pitcher Nick Gruener (Harvard) as tonight’s starting pitcher against Willmar. The 6-foot-0 native of Miami Palmetto, Fla., crafted a stellar performance May 30 against Wisconsin Rapids, conceding two runs – neither earned – on five hits, one walk and six strikeouts in route to his first winning decision of the summer.

“His main thing is keeping the ball down, throwing strikes and mixing his pitches just like anybody else,” Scott said of Gruener. “He had a good one for us the last time out and I’m kind of expecting the same thing. He’s got a great demeanor out there, he’s a smart kid and I expect good things.”

To counter, the Stingers will assign right-handed pitcher Tyler Hanson (Minnesota) with his second start of the season. Originally from Savage, Minn., Hanson’s first outing yielded no runs allowed on one hit, two walks and one strikeout in a victory May 30 at Eau Claire. As a sophomore this spring, Hanson authored a 4.82 ERA over 14 appearances (18.1 IP) out of the Golden Gophers bullpen.

From the Manager – “They had been playing well, it was just one of those nights,” Scott said of last night’s 7-3 loss to Green Bay, one that included five Madison errors. “Those are going to happen. You’ve got to bounce right back from it. I’m all about hustle and getting after it. It wasn’t like we were down there trying to make those errors. It’s just part of the game and you move on.”

Jonathan Quintana, On-Base Machine – Jonathan Quintana (Barry University) shined in Madison’s loss Thursday night, bashing his first home run of the season and reaching base twice via hit-by-pitch. The Mallards corner infielder now owns the Northwoods League’s third-best on-base percentage (.536) and has reached base safely in each of his six games. His on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.065 is a team-best mark.

Welcome to Madison – Andrew Beckwith (Coastal Carolina) has joined the Mallards active roster and will suit up for tonight’s series opener. The 6-foot-0 right-handed pitcher dons green and yellow following a sophomore collegiate campaign in which he went 6-4 with a 3.26 ERA across 27 games (66.1 IP). Primarily working out of the bullpen, Beckwith limited opponents to a .253 batting average and issued just 1.8 walks per nine innings this spring.

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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