Mallards Roll Rafters 9-2 to Open Playoffs
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. - The Madison Mallards (1-0) opened the 2019 postseason with an exclamation point, rolling past the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (0-1) 9-2 to start a best-of-three series. The offense scattered 12 hits and a dominant start from Quinn Gudaitis (Illinois Wesleyan) propelled the Mallards to victory at Witter Field on Monday.
After two quiet innings, the Mallards opened the scoring in the third inning. Austin Blazevic (SEMO) kept his hot streak going and roped an RBI single to create a 1-0 cushion.
However, the Rafters countered with a run in the bottom of the third. Richie Shiekofer (Rutgers) laced an RBI single and tied the game 1-1.
The pitchers shined through the middle innings and the game remained tied until the seventh. Then, the Madison offense erupted. The Mallards tacked on eight runs in the top of the seventh and took a commanding 9-1 lead.
Logan Michaels (Virginia) opened the floodgates with a two-RBI triple to break the tie. He then scored on an error. Jordan Stephens (Miami-Ohio) drove home a run with a single. Two batters later, a ball in play from Nick Gile (Madison College) brought home another pair of Mallards runs.
Nick Figus (Illinois Wesleyan) notched an RBI with a sacrifice fly in his second plate appearance in the inning. Then, Timo Schau (Southern Wesleyan) got in on the hit parade with an RBI single to cap the scoring.
In the eighth, Rapids pushed across another run on an RBI from Roman Trujillo (New Mexico State) to make it a 9-2 contest, but the Mallards already had the game in comfortable control.
Gudaitis turned in his best start of the summer. The right-hander went a season-high seven innings and allowed just one run on six hits while also striking out six.
Hayden Petrovick (UC-Riverside) donned the loss after getting tagged for seven runs in relief.
The offense was at a minimum for both sides until the seventh inning. In a tight contest filled with masterful pitching and flashy defense, the Mallards finally struck through in the seventh. Madison sent 11 batters to the plate in the half-inning and took the air out of the crowd at Witter Field. For the third time in just over a week, the Mallards put up a half-inning of more than six runs. After hanging eight runs on the Rafters, Brian Weissert (Fordham) entered for the Mallards and clinched the victory with the final two innings on the mound.
Gudaitis picked up the win in his first start in two weeks. In the playoff opener, Gudaitis set a season high for innings pitched and tossed seven innings in 101 pitches.
EJ Ranel (Lenoir-Rhyne) paced the offense with a three-hit night. The leadoff man finished 3-for-4 with a walk and scored a run.
Michaels' seventh-inning triple started the offensive stampede for the Mallards. It was his lone hit of the night, but he had a team-high two RBI and was the only Mallard to score two runs.
The Mallards return home to Warner Park for the second game in the best-of-three series against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. First pitch at the Duck Pond is slated for 6:35 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at mallardstickets.com or by calling the Mallards' box office at (608) 246-4277. Hear every pitch of the 2019 Mallards' season live on The Zone, 96.7 FM and 1670 AM.
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