Rasure Sharp, Coleman Clutch as Woodchucks Bust Slump
Rasure Tosses Sixth Quality Start in Ten Attempts to Lift Wisconsin to 7-1 Win
Wausau, Wis. – After six straight losses, the Wisconsin Woodchucks were searching for a starting pitcher to deliver a good outing. It’s no surprise that the search ended on a guy who has become the ace of the staff for the last half of the summer: Korey Rasure, who tossed six innings of shutout baseball to snap Wisconsin’s second-longest losing streak of the season. The Madison Mallards (36-34; 17-18) put up 11 runs Thursday night, but could only manage one Friday at Athletic Park in a 7-1 Wisconsin (25-45; 10-25) win, a loss that seriously damages Madison’s playoff hopes in 2017.
Tristen Bayless got the start for the Mallards, but his outing barely lasted an inning. Logan Foster began the game with a walk and Hunter Coleman followed with one of his own, prompting Yeager Taylor to crank a double to right-center, scoring both baserunners and staking Wisconsin to a 2-0 lead. Chad Fleischman followed with a single and the Chucks executed a double steal against catcher Brock Weimer to force Taylor home and make the lead 3-0.
Luke Shilling had tossed two scoreless innings in relief for Madison, but he ran into trouble in the sixth. Mike Ferri and Jordan Carlson both drew walks and stole bags before Shilling was lifted for David Stover. The sidearmer intentionally walked Hunter Larson to load the bases and Stover got one man to strike out before Coleman worked a full count and plastered a ball into the right-field corner, hightailing it to third for a three-RBI triple. The three-bagger was Coleman’s third of the year; Madison has just three all season.
Meanwhile, Rasure was working on a gem. He allowed at least one baserunner in every inning and threw more than 110 pitches, but he did not allow a single run, striking out five. Wisconsin has 12 quality starts as a team on the season, and six of them belong to Rasure.
It’s tough to keep the team that scores the second-most runs in the league off the board, and the Mallards finally broke through in the seventh against Lenny Gwizdala. Cole Daily led off with a single and Tommy Bullock followed with a deep double to drive Daily home to make it 6-1 Woodchucks.
But Wisconsin bounced right back. Alex Marro worked a scoreless seventh, but Caeden Harris led off the eighth with a single, his second hit of the game, scoring on a fielder’s choice hit into by Coleman to restore Wisconsin’s six-run lead. Gwizdala tossed a perfect eighth, the only one of those by a Chuck pitcher in the game, and allowed two baserunners in the ninth, but ultimately held firm to tally a three-inning save, his second save of the season, and ice the 7-1 Wisconsin win.
The defeat deals a significant blow to Madison’s playoff hopes. Despite a loss by the Lakeshore Chinooks earlier on Friday, the Mallards still sit a game out of fourth place with just two games left to play.
Wisconsin will look to turn this win into a streak Saturday night as the Kenosha Kingfish come to town. Degan Harte will get the start for the Woodchucks against a team fighting for its playoff lives, with first pitch slated for 6:35 PM.
Tickets are on sale to all Wisconsin Woodchucks home games and can be purchased online by calling 715.845.5055 or by stopping by the Woodchucks front office during normal business hours.
Tim Hackett, Broadcasting Intern