Madison, Wis. (July 3) – Fueled by stellar starting pitching and clutch plate appearances in pivotal moments, field manager Donnie Scott and the Madison Mallards (2-0, 22-16) walked off as winners of a 3-2 twelve-inning marathon with the Wisconsin Woodchucks (2-1, 14-24) Friday night at the Duck Pond.
Ro Coleman (Vanderbilt) produced the game-winning hit for the Mallards in the bottom of the final frame, his first hit of the summer, to seal Madison’s second consecutive victory to begin the second half of the 2015 Northwoods League season.
A.J. Bogucki pitched marvelously for the Mallards in the victory, logging six scoreless innings in which he allowed just one hit, issued one walk and fanned six batters to lower his season ERA to 3.60. Madison was unable to provide significant run support for the 6-foot-3 right hander, though, managing no runs against Woodchucks starting pitcher Simon Mathews until the home half of the fifth. It was in that frame in which Scott Tyler produced the Mallards first run, grabbing an RBI on a ground-out to score Jean Ramirez, who doubled earlier in the frame.
“Just really commanding all three of his pitches,” said Mallards pitching coach Peter Larson of Bogucki’s sterling performance Friday night. “He was getting really good extension on everything and competing in the zone all night. He’s kind of struggled up and down with competing in the zone at times this season, but for him to come out today and throw six shutout innings, that was huge for us.”
Scoreless bullpen appearances from Nick Gruener and Mike Kaelin in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, allowed for the Mallards to add on to their lead heading into the home half of the eighth. At that point, Tyler then deposited a solo home run – his second of the season – over the left-centerfield wall to start Madison’s eighth inning, which increased the lead to 2-0. The Woodchucks responded with three hits and a pair of runs against Kaelin in the ninth, however, which after a scoreless bottom of the frame from Madison pushed the game to extra innings.
Vince Arobio came on in relief of Kaelin to begin the tenth inning and proceeded to toss two quick innings, during which Wisconsin managed no runs on one hit and two strikeouts. And despite Tony Butler’s double to lead off the bottom of the tenth, which placed the winning run 90 feet from home, the Mallards were unable to muster up a run in either the tenth or eleventh frames against Wisconsin’s bullpen. Hever Bueno pitched a quick top of the twelfth for Madison, striking out two and allowing no hits to take the game to the bottom of the twelfth.
Woodchucks reliever Connor Kelly recorded two quick outs to begin the twelfth, inducing a popup from Tyler to third base and disposing of Butler with a swinging strikeout. Subbing in for Jonathan Quintana as a pinch hitter with two outs and nobody on base, Logan Browning battled back from a 0-2 count en route to a key walk for the Mallards. One batter later, Logan Regnier lined a single to advance Browning to third base. Then, with three balls and one strike against him, Coleman exposed the right-centerfield gap with a single to drive home Browning, clinching Madison’s victory.
“I was just trying to get a pitch to hit – no pressure at all,” Coleman said of his walk-off hit after the game. “This is just baseball. I’m trying to have fun.”
“They (Wisconsin) battled their butts off over there with that comeback – especially against Kaelin,” said Scott. “Vince did the job and Bueno did the job there in extra innings. That was very impressive. Bogucki was outstanding. But, I’ll tell you, that at-bat that Browning put together was incredible – that was a Major-League at-bat. That’s professionalism at its best. That was big with Ro, especially for his first hit of the season. I think this kid is really going to take off now.”
Now undefeated to start the second half – the Kalamazoo Growlers forfeited their win Wednesday night at the Duck Pond due to a pitching violation – Scott and company will turn their attention toward the first tilt of their five-game road swing Saturday night in Wisconsin Rapids. First pitch for tomorrow’s contest is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Follow the Mallards on Twitter @MadisonMallards for updates and tune into 100.5 FM ESPN Madison’s play-by-play coverage.
The Mallards will return to the Duck Pond on Thursday, July 9 against the Kenosha Kingfish. Next Thursday will feature a Motorcycle Maynard Bobblehead Giveaway at the front gates (while supplies last) and a pre-game skydiving and tandem skydive giveaway presented by Great Lakes Skydiving. For tickets, call the Mallards ticket office at 608-246-4277 or visit www.MallardsBaseball.com for more information.
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.