Madison, Wis. – The Madison Mallards (3-6) fell short to the Rockford Rivets (5-4), 1-0 on Wednesday night at Warner Park. Both starting pitchers were dealing early on as both teams were scoreless through four innings. The lone Rockford run in the top of the fifth was enough for the Rivets to hold off the Mallards to win tonight’s pitchers duel.
Mallards starter Matt Horkey (UNC-Charlotte) was solid in his first start. He tossed 4.2 innings and allowed just one run on six hits while striking out three. Horkey would be relieved in the fifth by Matt McCarty (Louisville) after giving up the game’s first run. McCarty was effective in relief, as he worked a total of 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up only one hit.
The Rivets countered Horkey’s strong start with a gem from starting pitcher Anthony Dahl. Dahl was lights-out as he was able to keep Mallards batters off balance all evening. Dahl pitched eight shutout innings and tallied 13 strikeouts while scattering five Mallard hits.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the eighth, the Mallards started a rally thanks to two perfectly placed bunt singles by Kian O’Brien (Madison College) and Cole Daily (Notre Dame). However, Dahl was able to work out of the jam, holding onto Rockford’s 1-0 lead. After J.T. Baksha (Western Illinois) entered and worked a scoreless top of the ninth for the Mallards, Rockford reliever Jon Laird came in for the bottom half and earned the save for the Rivets.
The Mallards pitching staff received help from the defense all evening including six putouts by third baseman Tom Smart (Oakton).
Madison hosts Rockford again tomorrow night as first pitch is set for 6:35 PM. The game will feature Chris Clark, a professional stunt rider, presented by Schwinn. Gates are scheduled to open at 5:00 PM.