O’Connor Dominates in 7-5 Victory
Madison, Wis. – The Madison Mallards (28-8) handled the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (15-20) in a 7-5 win on Tuesday night at Warner Park. Mallards starter Cole O’Connor(Dartmouth) was brilliant as the righty held a perfect game into the fifth inning. The Madison offense had all but one starter record a hit, backing the pitching staff with ten total knocks and seven runs. The Mallards wrapped up the first half of the Northwoods League season with 28 wins, their most in a single half in team history.
Madison hurler Cole O’Connor dominated the Rafters in the game’s first five innings as the righty retired the first ten batters he faced. O’Connor allowed a one-out double in the fifth inning but stranded the runner on third after a groundout and a key strikeout. O’Connor ended up completing 6.0 innings with eight strikeouts and allowing only one run on two hits. Meanwhile, the Madison offense provided steady support, scoring runs in four consecutive innings from the third to the sixth. O’Connor exited with the Mallards holding a 7-1 lead after six.
The Rafters were able to battle back thanks to a three-run home run in the eighth inning. With the lead cut to 7-5, the Mallards were required to turn to their shutdown closer Trace Norkus (North Florida). Norkus got the last out of the eighth inning and struck out the side in the ninth to seal the Mallards victory. Norkus earned his league-leading tenth save and still has now allowed a single earned run this season.
- Mallards infielder Trevor Schwecke (UW-Milwaukee) had a strong showing at the dish, opening the scoring with a two-run bomb in the third inning and finishing the night 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
- Mallards first basemanDavid Vinsky (Northwood) finished the night 2-for-3 with an RBI and a base on balls.
- Madison closer Trace Norkus struck out three and worked 1.1 scoreless innings to close the game. Norkus now has 20 strikeouts over 16.1 innings this summer while allowing only 10 hits.
Field Manager Donnie Scott on Cole O’Connor’s outing…“He just fills up the strikezone. he goes after them with all three pitches. He’s been very impressive in the two starts that he’s had. He kind of struggled out of the pen, just trying to build him up a bit. But, he’s been a different animal in his starts. I can say enough about the guy. It’s unbelievable. It just goes to show that throwing strikes is the name of the game and he does it.”
The Mallards begin second half play tomorrow with an Independence Day matchup with the Battle Creek Bombers. First pitch is set for 1:05 PM and gates will open at 11:30 AM. The game features Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Hamilton bobblehead giveaway, the Wisconsin Special ticket special and Military Appreciation Day. For tickets and more information visit mallardsbaseball.com. Make sure to catch every Mallards 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. The 23-year-old summer collegiate 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 170 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via theNorthwoods League portal. For more information, visitwww.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.