EJ Ranel Powers Mallards to 4-3 Win
The Madison Mallards (37-24) didn’t lead until the ninth inning. With a runner on base and no one out, EJ Ranel (Lenoir-Rhyne) stepped into the box and crushed his fifth home run of the season to put the Mallards on top 4-3, propelling them to a series-opening victory over the Wisconsin Woodchucks (28-33).
The Woodchucks jumped out early with a 1-0 lead in the first inning. After roping a double, TJ Reeves (Alabama) scored later in the frame on a passed ball.
Byron Murray (Lynn) extended the ‘Chucks lead to 2-0 with a solo home run on the first pitch he saw in the fourth inning.
The Mallards got on the board in the fifth. Ranel notched his 29th RBI of the summer with a single up the middle to cut Madison’s deficit to 2-1.
Ranel tied the game, 2-2, in the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly.
However, the Woodchucks climbed back on top in the bottom of the seventh. Adam Frank (FDU) knocked a single to drive in the go-ahead run and push the ‘Chucks ahead 3-2.
In the top of the ninth, Timo Schau (Southern Wesleyan) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Then, Ranel launched a no-doubt home run to put the Mallards on top for the first time in the contest.
Leon Davidson (North Carolina A&T) earned the win in relief for the Mallards after a stellar eighth inning on the mound. Theo Denlinger (Bradley) locked up his 10th save of the year with a perfect ninth.
Micheal Novak (Spring Hill College) donned the loss for the ‘Chucks after allowing the home run to Ranel.
Davidson entered in the eighth inning with runners on first and second and no outs. Then, a passed ball moved both runners in scoring position. Davidson dialed in on the mound and racked up three-consecutive strikeouts to strand the runners on base and keep the Mallards’ deficit at one run going into the ninth.
- Ranel drove home all four runs for the Mallards. He finished 3-for-4 with four RBI and smacked his first home run in over a month.
- Brody Gibson (Oral Roberts) turned in a strong start on the hill for the Mallards. The right-hander crafted five innings and allowed just one earned run on two hits while striking out three.
- Davidson’s gritty three strikeouts on the mound kept the game at a manageable deficit and gave the Mallards the opportunity to come from behind and win. He notched his third win of the summer.
The Mallards and Woodchucks will close out their series in Madison on Wednesday. First pitch at the Duck Pond is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and it will be Harry Potter Night at Warner Park. Hear every pitch of the 2019 Mallards’ season live on The Zone, 96.7 FM and 1670 AM.