Madison, Wis. – The Madison Mallards (15-5) are back in action tonight and take on the Rockford Rivets (12-8) at Warner Park at 7:05 PM. The Mallards are fresh off of a day off yesterday that followed a two-game series in Michigan against the Battle Creek Bombers. The Mallards split the series, losing 11-8 in game one and dominating in a 9-1 game two win.
Despite having their 12-game win streak snapped last Friday, the Mallards still sit atop the Northwoods League South Division. At 15-5, the Mallards hold a 1.0 game lead over the Kalamazoo Growlers and are 3.0 games ahead of the Rivets, who sit in third. The Mallards lead the entire league with a .289 team batting average and also pace the league with 14 home runs. On the mound, the Mallards staff has been the league’s best at keeping teams from hitting for power, holding teams to just a .276 slugging percentage
Scheduled to start tonight for the Mallards is San Jose State righty Justin Watland. Watland will be making his third start of the season and looking for his first win. Watland has yet to last more than 4.0 innings but allowed zero runs on only two hits through 4.0 innings in his last start. Over 11.0 innings this summer, Watland has struck out eight and walked six.
The Rivets plan to start Matt Vanek, a righty from UW-Milwaukee. Vanek has made three starts this season and has only gotten out of the fourth inning once. Vanek owns a 6.75 ERA over 10.2 innings pitched and has allowed batters to hit .333 off of him this summer.
Players to Watch
After a quick slump at the end of last week, Mallards first baseman Jake Randa (Northwest Florida State) has caught fire once again. Randa is hitting .429 over his last five games and has knocked in seven runs in that span. Randa currently leads the team with a .375 average and has a NWL best 12 doubles.
Madison infielder Max Hewitt (Oklahoma State) is getting hot at the plate after a three-hit day on Sunday. Hewitt has been an on-base machine recently, moving his on base percentage up to .472 after five hits and six walks over his last four games. Hewitt has reached base in seven straight ballgames.
For tickets and more information visit mallardsbaseball.com. Make sure to catch every Mallards game game on The Zone, 1670 AM and 96.7 FM.
The Madison Mallards are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 190 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). 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 or on Google Play and set the Mallards as your favorite team.