The Madison Mallards (17-18, 36-34) fell 7-1 to the hands of the Wisconsin Woodchucks (10-25, 25-45) at Athletic Park on a beautiful Friday night. Strong pitching from Wisconsin limited Madison to only seven hits on the day.
The Woodchucks got the jump on the Mallards with three runs in the bottom of the first inning off of Madison starter Tristen Bayless (Texas A&M). Bayless walked Logan Foster and Hunter Coleman before Yeager Taylor doubled to score the first two runs for Wisconsin. With runners on first and third, Wisconsin stole second and on the ensuing throw to second base from catcher Brock Weimer (SIU-Edwardsville), Taylor scored from third. In that first inning, Bayless threw 37 pitches and by NWL pitching regulations, he was not allowed to return to pitch in the second inning.
After Bayless was forced out of the game, Sam Cottingham-Beard (Western Illinois) took the mound and delivered two scoreless innings. Despite giving up doubles in both the second and third innings, Cottingham-Beard worked out of sticky situations beautifully by popping out four Woodchucks and earning a strikeout to finish the third.
The Mallard defense provided a clean scorecard by committing no errors in the field. They were aided by the pitching staff who struck out ten Woodchucks and popped up the opposition with eight easy fly-outs. The Madison infield only had to field five ground balls.
Luke Shilling (Illinois) replaced Cottingham-Beard on the mound in the fourth inning. Shilling allowed baserunners through his first two innings, but held the Woodchucks off the board by using a hard fastball and a filthy 12-6 curve to strike out four. David Stover (Marietta) came in to replace Shilling with one out and two men on. After an intentional walk, Hunter Coleman drove in three runs with a bases-clearing double to right field to put the score at 6-0.
Madison’s only run came in the seventh with the top of the order at the plate. Cole Daily (Notre Dame) led off the inning with a base knock to center field. After Daily’s single, Tommy Bullock (UNC-Charlotte) smacked a ball off the wall in dead-center field to score Daily. Both Daily and Bullock finished the day with three hits, accounting for all but one of the seven Mallard hits. Daily has now notched three consecutive games with multiple hits.
Despite the loss, Madison is still right in the playoff mix. The Mallards must win their last two games against Battle Creek and Lakeshore must lose twice to Wisconsin Rapids. Currently, Madison sits one game behind Lakeshore, but if Lakeshore wins one of its games against Rapids, the Chinooks would hold the tie-breaker over Madison. First, however, the Mallards must take care of business against the Bombers tomorrow at 6:35 PM CST at Warner Park. Catch all the action live on 106.7 FM and 1670 AM The ZONE.