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Late Surge Propels Mallards over Kingfish

July12_postgameMadison, WI – July 12th, 2016. The Mallards (4-3, 27-16), were able to use a five-run seventh inning to top the Kenosha Kingfish (2-5, 18-25) on Tuesday night, securing the victory by a score of 7-1. The contest marked the first meeting of 2016 between the two clubs, with their most recent matchup coming in the 2015 Northwoods League Playoffs.

Mike Byrne (Florida) got the start for Madison, pitching a sensational five innings of baseball. After giving up a home run on the first pitch of the game, Byrne was able to settle down nicely, striking out the side in the inning en route to his eight-strikeout performance. Byrne would take the no-decision, finishing with a final stat line of five innings, three hits, one earned run and eight strikeouts on 73 pitches. The performance was a great redemption from his short outing in his last start, as his slider was working early and often in this one.

“I was just trying to get ahead and throw more strikes,” said Byrne. “Even after the leadoff home run, I knew I just had to keep pounding.”

The Mallards would answer the call in the bottom of the first, with Cameron Frost (Washington State) hitting a leadoff triple off of Kingfish starter and former Mallard Grant Spranger (Southeastern CC). Nico Hoerner would single him home two batters later, evening up the score at 1-1.

The score would hold for the middle part of the ballgame, with the next threat not coming until the top of the sixth. Luke Shilling (Illinois) came in to replace Byrne, finding himself in a bases-loaded jam with two outs. He would get Cal Jadacki (St. Joseph’s) to go down looking, ending the Kenosha threat. With one out in the seventh, Troy Bacon (Santa Fe College) would come in to replace Shilling, inheriting runners on first and second in the process. Though it can be a sticky one, the situation is nothing new to the right-hander.

“Innings like that are the most important,” Bacon said. “You just have to let the defense work behind you and work with what you have.”

The game would bust open in the seventh inning, with Madison exploding for five runs off of Kenosha reliever Kyle Michalik (Ohio State) with two outs. All of the runs off of the right-hander were unearned, with Josh Stowers (Louisville) reaching on an error by Michalik himself. Nine men would come to the plate in the frame, with Joe Stefanki delivering the go-ahead blow with the game tied, two on and two out.

“I was really off on the slider he threw me earlier in the at-bat, so I choked up and tried to battle with him,” said Stefanki. “He threw me a fastball with no movement, which wasn’t normal, and I was able to push it through to the opposite field.”

Nelson Maldonado (Florida) and Nico Hoerner were both able to deliver two-out RBIs behind Stefanki, giving the Mallards a 6-1 advantage heading into the eighth. A Nate Palace (Valparaiso) solo home run in the eighth inning pushed the lead even further, with Madison going ahead and eventually winning by a score of 7-1.

Troy Bacon earned the win, his sixth of the season. The victory puts him in sole possession of the league-lead in wins this year and lowered his ERA to 1.90 after 2.2 scoreless frames. Kyle Michalik took the loss, his first decision of 2016.

The Mallards will return to the Duck Pond on Thursday, July 14th, to take on the Rockford Rivets at 7:05 pm. The contest will feature a Pepsi Double Decker Pizza Bus Maynard bobblehead giveaway.  Tickets are available for purchase by visiting MallardsBaseball.com, calling the Mallards ticket office at 608-246-4277, or stopping in the ticket office at 2920 N Sherman Ave.

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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 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, 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 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 portal. For more information, visit www.mallardsbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Mallards as your favorite team.