The Mallards played tennis with the Dock Spiders and earned a series-opening victory
Fond du Lac, WI – After the offense crawled at a turtle’s pace through the first six innings of the game, the Mallards’ lineup woke up late to steal a win over Fond du Lac, 8-6.
Madison dug themselves an early hole with starting pitcher Giovanni Canales struggling in the 1st inning. Canales never found his command, walking six total in the first frame and allowing one hit allowing the Dock Spiders to take a 3-0 lead. Manager Donnie Scott was forced to use his bullpen early on, calling on Issac Milburn in his debut. His first day in Madison, the southpaw tore through the Dock Spiders order over 5.1 innings pitched, punching out five and allowing just three overall baserunners. All while Fond du Lac’s starting pitcher, Tyler Peck, was perfect through five innings for the hosts.
That held true for Peck until the top of the 6th inning rolled around. Jake Goolsby drew a leadoff walk out of a full-count and Jayden Lobliner sliced a single into right field to eliminate the no-hit bid from the right-hander from Ohio University. It took the Mallards until the 7th inning to light up the scoreboard. Second baseman Ryan Sprock lined a double into the right-center gap to leadoff the half-inning followed by a looped single by Owen Jackson. Dock Spiders’ Manager Doug Coe opted for the first bullpen arm of the game for Fond du Lac after those two swings. He brought on Zach Silfies to relieve Peck. Isaiah Jackson flew into center which scored Sprock from third to cut the lead to two. An Estevan Moreno walk and a Goolsby double put the go-ahead run on second base for Lobliner. The Mallards’ catcher was 1-of-19 entering Monday night’s game. The Kansas State Wildcat doubled into right field which scored both Moreno and Goolsby came home to score on a throwing error on the same play to give the Mallards a 4-3 edge.
Cole Heath, who entered and struck out the side in the 6th, trotted back out to the mound in the home-half of the 7th. Luke Novistke, a thorn in the side of Madison the past two seasons, doubled as the first batter. The third Mallards’ error of the night moved Novitske to third with no one out. After recording two outs with a runner 90-feet away from the tying run, Jake Surane singled him home to tie at 4-4.
Fond du Lac would break the tie in the 8th inning against Heath with two runs, taking a 6-4 lead on two wild pitches, scoring Jared Heinzen and Seth Sweet-Chick.
The visitors came to the plate in the top of the 9th against Zach Gaudreau. In their final chances, all nine Mallards came to the plate against three total arms for the Dock Spiders in the 9th. Two walks led off the inning before the first out was recorded. Mike Gupton, the first batter that Mason Hill would pitch to, took a wild-pitch that scored Moreno. Later in the at-bat, Gupton singled to left to put runners on the corners trailing by one. Jake Holcroft, hitless on the day, slapped a single into left to score the game tying run. Two batters later, Ryan Sprock singled in the same spot to score Gupton and give Madison a 7-6 lead. Holcroft came around to score on another wild-pitch later in the inning for a two-run cushion.
Madison decided to stick with right-hander Will Morris after entering for Heath in the 8th. A four-pitch free pass was given to Paul Wittmannto begin the home 9th. Morris put away the next three Dock Spiders’ hitters including a diving catch from Isaiah Jackson in center field to keep Wittmann at bay.
With the Mallards’ win and the Wausau loss against Green Bay, Madison climbed to just one game behind Wausau in the Great Lakes West standings. The team returns home to Warner Park in Madison tomorrow for a 6:05 P.M. first pitch to finish their home-and-home series with Fond du Lac before the league-wide off-day on Wednesday.