Mallards Rally Falls Shy in Traverse City

The Madison Mallards (2-1) fell 3-2 to the Traverse City Pit Spitters (3-0) in the Great Lakes Championship game on Wednesday night at Pit Spitters Park. Despite outhitting the Pit Spitters 8-7, the Mallards’ eight-inning rally came up short and Madison’s season came to a close one game shy of the Summer Collegiate World Series.

The Pit Spitters jumped on top with a run in the first inning. Michael Slaten (Benedictine College) laced an RBI single to open a 1-0 lead for the home team.

In the second, Riley Bertram (Michigan) lined a two-RBI single and created a 3-0 cushion for Traverse City.

After a pitcher’s duel through the middle innings, the Mallards’ offense came to life with a two-out rally in the eighth inning. EJ Ranel (Lenoir-Rhyne) laced a single to give Madison a pulse. After the Mallards worked a few walks, Ranel scored on a wild pitch to make it a 3-1 game.

Jordan Stephens (Miami-Ohio) ripped an RBI single and made it a one-run, 3-2 game. On the play, Justice Bigbie (Western Carolina) was cut down at the plate as the potential game-tying run.

Trevor Marreel (Washburn) was tagged for three runs over the first two innings and donned the loss for the Mallards.

Pat Hohlfeld (Jefferson University) earned the win in relief for the Pit Spitters. Joe Pace (Michigan) picked up the four-out save.

Turning Point

With Bigbie chugging around third, Jake Wilson (Bowling Green) fired a laser from centerfield to gun down Bigbie at the plate and keep the Pit Spitter lead intact. Ultimately, Traverse City held on in the ninth inning for a nail-biting win.

Top Mallards

  • Ranel and Bigbie paced the offense, each with two-hit games. Bigbie capped off an MVP season while Ranel racked up over 30 RBI from the leadoff spot.
  • Deylen Miley (Bellarmine) dominated in relief for Madison. The right-hander worked through four innings and racked up seven strikeouts.
  • Leon Davidson (North Carolina A&T) and Theo Denlinger (Bradley) locked down the end of the game in relief as they did all year long. The one-two combo worked the final three innings and only allowed one hit.

Next Up

The Mallards close the books with another 40-win regular season, finishing 42-30 and falling one game shy of another appearance in the Northwoods League Championship. Once again, Madison led the league and the entire nation in summer collegiate attendance, averaging over 6,000 fans every home game.