Madison, Wis. (July 4) – Remaining undefeated to begin their second-half schedule thanks to Ro Coleman’s (Vanderbilt) walk-off hit in the bottom of the twelfth Friday night at the Duck Pond, field manager Donnie Scott and the Madison Mallards (2-0, 22-16) will look to complete a sweep of the Wisconsin Woodchucks (2-1, 14-24) on Saturday at Athletic Park in Wausau, Wis.
Tonight’s contest, scheduled for 7:05 p.m., will be the first of a five-game road trip for the Mallards before returning home next Thursday. Play-by-play coverage of Saturday’s game will be provided by 100.5 FM ESPN Madison.
After witnessing A.J. Bogucki (North Carolina) spin a gem in the series opener – 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K – the Mallards will turn to Matt Bower (Washington State) to provide a similarly dominant outing tonight. Bower, a 6-foot-5 southpaw drafted by the Houston Astros in last month’s MLB amateur draft, carries a 2-1 record, 3.21 ERA and 25:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio into tonight’s contest, including a team-high four quality starts. His June 26 outing against Kenosha at Warner Park set the tone for a crucial 11-4 Mallards victory, ceding just one earned run with four whiffs in six frames.
To counter Bower, the Woodchucks will assign right-handed pitcher Kaleb Roper (Arizona) with his third start of the summer. Roper, a 6-foot-0 native of New Orleans, La., enters tonight’s contest on the heels of a shutout bullpen appearance on June 30 against the Green Bay Bullfrogs, one in which he allowed no hits, walked to and struck out a pair of hitters. Overall, Roper has posted an 0-2 record thus far on the mound with a 9.69 ERA, 2.15 WHIP and 10:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio across seven games (13 IP). Opponents have posted a .439 on-base percentage against him.
Swinging for the Fences – While Coleman’s walk-off hit stole the show Friday night, Scott Tyler (Ball State) provided much of the offensive firepower necessary for Madison’s victory. Lacing his second home run of the season to left-centerfield and doubling en route to a 2-for-5 batting line, Tyler raised his season slugging percentage to .512 – second-highest on Madison’s roster (minimum 40 at-bats). His .195 isolated slugging percentage ranks seventh-best in the Northwoods League’s South Division (min. 40 AB).
Invincible Stretch – Called upon to pitch the tenth and eleventh frames out of Madison’s bullpen last night, Vince Arobio (Pacific) relinquished no runs on one hit to Wisconsin’s lineup to go alongside a pair of strikeouts and no walks. The flame-throwing right-hander has strung together 10 consecutive relief appearances sans a run allowed for the Mallards, a span of time in which he has whiffed 15 batters and allowed just six hits in 14.2 frames. Arobio’s season ERA for Madison checks in at 1.30 across 20.2 innings.
The Mallards will return to the Duck Pond on Thursday, July 9 against the Kenosha Kingfish at 7:05 p.m. Next Thursday will feature a Motorcycle Maynard Bobblehead Giveaway at the front gates while supplies last, presented by WKOW TV, including 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.