The Madison Mallards (12-13, 31-29) fell 5-2 in a close contest to the Kenosha Kingfish (11-14, 33-27) at Simmons Field on Monday night.
Through the first half of the game, both starting pitchers controlled the opposing lineups. For Kenosha, Cole Erickson held down the Mallards early on. Madison didn’t manage a baserunner until new Mallard Tommy Bullock (UNC-Charlotte) singled the fourth inning. The hit to left was not only Madison’s first of the game, but also Bullock’s first of the season. Bullock finished the game 2-3 at the plate and now through six at-bats with Madison has either singled, walked or hit a ball into the outfield every time.
For the Mallards, Matt Horkey (UNC-Charlotte) was sensational. The left-handed starter worked around runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings, mowing through the heart of the Kenosha batting order with the Kingfish threatening to score. In the seventh inning, Horkey fanned Jack Yalowitz, Derek Bangert, and Austin Bodrato in order for a three-strikeout inning. The junior from UNC-Charlotte finished the day allowing three runs on eight hits, two walks, and seven K’s in seven innings.
Kenosha earned the first three runs of the ball game in the fifth inning. After manager Donnie Scott opted to intentionally walk Derek Bangert to load the bases with one out, Horkey was tasked with once again trying to work out of a sticky situation. After Horkey punched out Austin Bodrato, Jesse Wilkening stepped up to the dish for Kenosha with two down and the bases full. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Horkey managed to get Wilkening to fly a ball to dead center field that looked to be playable for Zac Taylor (Illinois). Taylor appeared to be camped underneath the fly ball, but in fact had lost the ball against the stadium lights and the night sky. The ball fell behind Taylor as three Kingfish came in to score and Wilkening reached third with a triple.
Madison fought back in the seventh and eighth innings by putting up one run in each. In both innings, Mallard hitters drew walks and forced the Kenosha infield to make errors by putting balls in play. Maverick Handley (Stanford) knocked in a run with a single up the middle to bring in David Vinsky (Northwood) in the seventh inning. In the eighth, Zac Taylor made it all the way home from first base after an infield error by Kenosha on a Sam Armstrong (Jacksonville) ground ball.
In the eighth inning, the Kingfish brought in two more runs on a single from Carson Breshears to pad their lead. The margin of error tonight was small for both teams, with the only runs for both teams coming from tough plays in the field. The Madison bats could find no rhythm and only managed four hits, two of which came from Tommy Bullock. Thomas Smart (Oakton) did notch a triple down the right field line in fifth inning. Smart’s three-bagger tonight makes him the only Mallard apart from Cole Daily (Notre Dame) to record a triple this season.
Madison will have another crack at Kenosha tomorrow at 7:05 PM CST back at Warner Park. The Mallards will continue to battle Kenosha for a playoff spot in the Northwoods South Division. Gates open at 5:30 and will feature the Alliant Energy iMaynard bobblehead. A limited number of bobbleheads will be available for children 14 and under who complete a STEM activity at the game. Catch all the action live on 106.7 FM and 1670 AM The ZONE.