FOND DU LAC, Wis. — With the series at stake, the Madison Mallards (2-4, 21-20) rallied in the top of the ninth inning to top the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders (3-3, 19-23) by a score of 3-2 on Monday night.
In a sunny evening at Herr-Baker field, two outstanding starting pitchers squared off in a duel that dominated the first half of the game. For Madison, Tyler Dyson (Florida) threw the first five innings and held Fond du Lac to only four hits and no runs in his debut in a Mallards uniform. His Dock Spider counterpart on the mound, Jack Collins, controlled Madison for the first six innings and allowed only four hits and no runs.
Despite the strong pitching performances, both teams had opportunities to score that they could not capitalize on. By the end of the game the Mallards had stranded 12 runners on base while Fond du Lac left 11. Fond du Lac reliever Kyle Huckaby kept Madison in check throughout the seventh and eighth innings. After stranding so many runners on base, the Mallards offense seemed as if they would be unable to push a single run across.
The scoring began in the bottom of the eighth inning when, with runners on first and third, Fond du Lac’s Nick Fortes singled to right field to plate Luke Mengieri from third base and give the Dock Spiders a 1-0 advantage.
The Mallards took offense to Fond du Lac’s lead and a half inning later struck back. Jake Matheny (Indiana) singled to center field to lead off the top of the ninth. Behind him, Zac Taylor (Illinois) drove a ball into the left-center field gap to move Jalen Harrison (Virginia), a pinch-runner for Matheny, over to third base. Two batters later with runners on second and third, Jeffrey Mitchell Jr. (California) grounded a ball hard to Dock Spider third basemen AJ Lewis. Lewis bobbled the ball, and then overthrew Mangieri at first base. The fielding error allowed two runs to score for Madison. David Vinsky (Northwood) then singled to the left side of the infield, allowing Mitchell Jr. to score from second. This would prove to be the winning run, as Fond du Lac was able to notch one run in the bottom of the ninth but nothing more.
Vinsky, Taylor, and Matheny, all recorded 2-4 efforts at the plate tonight. The Mallards were only able to muster eight hits, but stellar pitching kept Fond du Lac’s offense under control. After Dyson’s strong start, left-handed reliever Andrew Baker (Florida) tossed a strong two and two-thirds, allowing one run. David Stover (Marietta) and Dom Savino (Albany) combined to polish off the Dock Spiders in the final two innings.