The Madison Mallards (41-28) fell 5-2 to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (44-25) in a pitcher’s duel at Witter Field on Thursday. With the win, the Rafters secured a season series victory with their seventh win of 2019 over the Mallards.
The Mallards took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when EJ Ranel (Lenoir-Rhyne) drew a leadoff walk. Later in the frame, Ranel took advantage of an error an came into score.
The Rafters bounced back in the second and pushed across three runs to take a 3-1 lead. Noah Thigpen (UT-Martin) lifted a sacrifice fly. Two batters later, Matt Oldham (Elon) hammered a two-run home run to right field, putting Rapids ahead by two.
With two out in the third, Jake Dunham (Northern Illinois) blasted a solo home run to left and increased the Rafters’ lead to 4-1.
Drew Williams (San Jose State) drove home a run for the Mallards in the eighth, slimming the Madison deficit to 4-2.
Rapids opened a 5-2 cushion and countered with a run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single from Osvaldo Tovalin (Azusa Pacific).
Neil Abbatiello (Wagner) dominated on the mound for the Rafters. The left-hander cruised through six innings and allowed just two hits and zero earned runs. Abatiello finished with 10 strikeouts over his six-inning outing. Brayden Bonner (Dixie State) picked up his 10th save of the summer with a perfect ninth.
Eliot Turnquist (Madison College) took the loss for Madison after allowing four runs over three innings of work.
In the third inning, the Rafters struck for three to open a two-run cushion. The lead was one which Rapids did not relinquish the rest of the game, powered by the masterful pitching and strong defense.
- Logan Michaels (Virginia) accounted for half of the Mallards’ hits. Michaels knocked through two singles and finished 2-for-4.
- Williams was the only Mallard with an RBI in the game, notching his 19th of the season.
- John Sakowski (Creighton) was strong in relief for Madison. He crafted three innings and did now allow a run, facing the minimum number of nine batters.
The Mallards and Rafters clash for the final time in the regular season on Friday in Wisconsin Rapids. First pitch between the division rivals is set for 7:05 p.m. from Witter Field. Hear every pitch of the 2019 Mallards’ season live on The Zone, 96.7 FM and 1670 AM.