Three Run First Propels Mallards to 7th Straight Road Win
By: Max Baker
Facing the Wisconsin Woodchucks (6-6) for the first time in 2016, the Madison Mallards (9-4) used an early offensive outburst to snap the Woodchucks perfect home start with a 5-4 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Matt McCann (Fairleigh Dickenson) started things off for the Mallards with a single, as he found himself batting leadoff for the first time this season. After a Matt Vierling (Notre Dame) single and a Lucas Halstead (Pacific) walk, Sam Armstrong (Jacksonville) put the Mallards on the board with an RBI single as Madison grabbed an early lead. After a Woodchuck error gave the Mallards another run, Joe Stefanki (San Jose St.) knocked in his first run of the season, as Halstead came in to score on his single to right field.
Justin Watts (Northern Kentucky) was solid on the mound for the Madison Mallards, as he went six innings allowing just three earned runs on four hits while earning the win. Watts walked two batters in the first inning, but then regained control as he then went on to retire the next eleven Woodchuck batters.
The Mallards would tack on a run in the top of the sixth inning, after AJ Montoya (Toledo) led off with a double. He later came around to score when Cameron Frost (Washington St.) grounded out to second, for the second out of the 6th inning.
Nico Hoerner (Stanford) continued his hot start at the plate for the Mallards, as he finished the afternoon 2-5 with two RBI, including plating what winded up being the winning run in the top of the seventh with his double off the wall in left center field.
Trailing 5-0 heading into the seventh inning stretch, the Woodchucks took advantage of some defensive lapses on behalf of the Mallards to cut the lead to just one. With the tying run on third, the Woodchucks attempted a double steal with two outs in the seventh, but Stefanki and McCann read it brilliantly, as Stefanki threw to McCann who cut the throw in front of second and fired it quickly back to Stefanki, as he tagged out the potential tying run.
Troy Bacon (Santa Fe College) the recent 37th round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies, was brilliant out of the bullpen for the Mallards. Often hitting 95 mph with his fastball, Bacon worked the final 2 1/3 innings and didn’t allow a single Woodchuck to reach safely, as he earned his first save of the season.
The Mallards will be back in action tomorrow night at 6:35 pm as they finish up the two game series in Wausau against the Woodchucks. After they conclude their season series with the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters with a two game series in Rapids on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Mallards will return home for a three game home stand. The Mallards play host to the Battle Creek Bombers on Thursday, June 16th on Zimbrick Honda Madison State Capitol Maynard bobblehead giveaway night.
The Madison Mallards are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016, 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, 150 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 (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website. For more information, visit www.MallardsBaseball.com