In the second game of a home & home series, the Rockford Rivets (7-3, 24-22) defeated the Madison Mallards (5-5, 28-18) by a final score of 3-0 on Friday night in Illinois.
Luke Matheny (Oklahoma St.) made his first start of the season on the mound for the Mallards, after having worked out of the bullpen in all of his previous appearances. He was able to work around a lead off single in the bottom of the first inning, as he recorded his first strikeout of the evening on the lone Rivet all-star position player David Cronin (Illinois-Chicago). After walking Hunter Hargrove (Texas Tech) with two-outs in the inning, Matheny was able to get a fly-out to left field to keep the Rivets off the board in the first inning.
The Rivets would again put two men aboard in the second inning, but Matheny was able to record a strikeout to again escape the jam unscathed. Matheny was finished after two innings of work, allowing two hits and two walks, while showing dominance with his fastball by striking-out three Rivet batters.
After the Rivets put up three runs in the bottom of the third inning, Luke Shilling (Illinois) came on in relief of Chase Hoag (Fresno St.). With runners on the corners with one out, Cam Comer (Virginia) gunned down a runner trying to steal second to help ease the pressure on Shilling. After Shilling issued a walk to Braeden Williams (Texas Tech) he was able to end the inning with a ground out to first basemen Nate Palace (Valparaiso).
Shilling would continue to give the Mallards a chance to claw out of the three run deficit, as he showed excellent control on the mound. Shilling would be finished after tossing four and a third scoreless innings in relief, striking out five Rivet batters in the process.
Mitch Vogrin (Illinois St.) would follow Shilling’s performance with one and a third scoreless innings of relief, as he didn’t allow a single base runner and struck out two.
Despite having only one hit into the ninth inning, the Mallards continued to fight and show great resolve, as they were able to load the bases trailing by just three. After Nelson Maldonado (Florida) walked to lead off the top of the ninth, Zach Jarrett (UNC-Charlotte) reached thanks to an error. After two quick strikeouts from the Rivets pitching staff, Matt McCann (Fairleigh Dickinson) would walk to put the tying run aboard. Noah Cummings (Oral Roberts) would be hit by a pitch to tally the lone RBI the Mallards were able to muster. The next batter would fly out to deep center field, as the Mallards ninth inning proved not enough in their 3-1 loss.
The Mallards will wrap action up before the all-star break by traveling to Kenosha on Saturday for game one of a home and home series at 6:05 PM. Madison will then travel back home to the Duck Pond as they host the Kenosha Kingfish on Sunday at 4:05 PM. The game will feature a Festival Foods Dancing Rick Bobblehead giveaway. It will also be Public Safety Night and Rayovac 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, the Nooutrthwoods 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.