Mallards Caught in Web

The Madison Mallards (9-7, 28-23) dropped a close game to the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders (9-8, 25-28) at Herr-Baker Field on a picture-perfect Monday evening.

Madison jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning after a Zac Taylor (Illinois) solo home run deep to left field. Taylor has now hit all five of his home runs in the last ten games. Later in the fourth inning, four consecutive hits from Jeffrey Mitchell Jr. (California), David Vinsky (Northwood), Sam Armstrong (Jacksonville), and Thomas Smart (Oakton) scored three runs. After singles from Mitchell Jr. and Vinsky, Sam Armstrong roped a ball to right field to bring home Mitchell Jr. With runners on second and third and the Fond du Lac infield pulled in, Thomas Smart chopped a base-hit into center to plate Vinsky and Armstrong.

The Mallards pitching tonight was strong, but not as dominant as it has been over the past few weeks. Starter Simon Rosenblum-Larson (Harvard) worked through four innings and gave up runs in both the third and fourth innings. This evening was the Ivy Leaguer’s shortest outing that has not been influenced by the Northwoods League pitch-count rule.

Reliever Andrew Baker (Florida) filled in beautifully out of the bullpen after Jason Ruffcorn (Texas A&M) struggled on the mound replacing Rosenblum-Larson. Baker worked through three innings and struck out two while not allowing a hit or a run.

Hits and runs were hard to come by for both teams for most of the night. Both clubs resorted to bunting several times throughout the game, totaling five between the two teams. Fond du Lac only scored one of their four earned runs off a base-hit, as the Dock Spiders manufactured runs any way they could. Both teams also missed out on opportunities to cash in with runners in scoring position. With the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth inning, the Mallards held Fond du Lac to only one run. A half inning later in the top of the sixth, the Mallards failed to score a single run with the bases loaded and nobody out. Madison would go on to leave 11 runners on base.

Down 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, the Dock Spiders made their move to take the lead. After a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and a bunt, Fond du Lac had runners on second and third with one out. Thomas Luevano then rolled a soft infield single to shortstop Cole Daily (Notre Dame) who had no play on the slow ball. With the game tied, Chris Cornelius lifted a ball to right field to bring in the go-ahead run from third on a sacrifice fly.

Madison had a chance to reclaim the lead in the top of ninth. Daily singled to lead off the inning, and then Zac Taylor reached on a fielding error that should’ve been a double play. After David Vinsky was intentionally walked, the bases were loaded for Sam Armstrong. Facing Connor Johnson, one of the best closers in the league, Armstrong popped out to the infield. Thomas Smart had a chance to give Madison the lead with two outs, but grounded a hard ball at the second basemen Chris Cornelius who made a tough play for out number three. Smart was the only Mallard to record multiple hits.

The Mallards will look to even the series with Fond du Lac tomorrow at 6:35 PM CST back at Herr-Baker Field. Each of the three series between these two teams so far has ended in a split. Catch all the action live on 106.7 FM and 1670 AM The ZONE.