New faces, numbers on Wisconsin’s 2018 roster

With fall camp slated to start soon and Big Ten Media Days taking place this week in Chicago, the Badgers have updated their roster for 2018.

Here’s some takeaways from it.

Players missing

One of the most impressive runs of spring came courtesy of running back Sam Brodner, and it came just 12 months after he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. Now, he’s no longer on the roster, and a team official confirmed Monday he’s no longer a member of the team. The Illinois product was a 3-star recruit that was a part of the 2016 recruiting class.

Also missing was senior offensive lineman Brett Connors. He played in all 14 games last year and had showed versatility in career with the ability to play center and right tackle.

Six more walk-ons — safeties Ryan O’Connell, Jake Benzing and Brad Laufenberg, wide receivers Chris Clementi and Sam DeLany, and cornerback Kobe Knaak — that were on the spring roster are also no longer listed.

Number changes

WR Aron Cruickshank — No. 11 to No. 1
S Reggie Pearson — No. 19 to No. 3
CB Deron Harrell — No. 89 to No. 8
S Scott Nelson — No. 25 to No. 9

New freshmen numbers

QB Chase Wolf — No. 2
CB Rachad Wildgoose — No. 5
RB Isaac Guerendo — No 10
CB Alexander Smith — No. 11
CB Travian Blaylock — No. 24
RB Nakia Watson — No. 25
ILB C.J. Goetz — No. 34
OLB Jaylan Franklin — No. 42
OLB Mason Platter — No. 48
ILB Jack Sanborn — No. 57
OL Michael Furtney — No. 74
WR A.J. Abbott — No. 89
DE Isaiah Mullens — No. 90
DE Boyd Dietzen — No. 94
TE Cormac Sampson — No. 96

Weight changes

DOWN

NT Olive Sagapolu down 4 to 342 lbs
OL Jon Dietzen down 13 to 323 lbs
OL Michael Deiter down 18 to 310 lbs
OL Micah Kapoi down 18 to 308 lbs
OL Patrick Kasl down 7 to 318 lbs
TE Luke Benzschawel down 14 to 247 lbs
ILB Griffin Grady down 11 to 214 lbs
S Patrick Johnson down 11 to 193 lbs

UP

OL Tyler Beach up 21 to 311 lbs
OL Alex Fenton up 14 to 313 lbs
OL Logan Bruss up 22 to 303 lbs
OLB Arrington Farrar up 12 to 249 lbs
TE Jake Ferguson up 9 to 239 lbs
OLB Noah Burks up 11 to 241 lbs
ILB Ryan Connelly up 9 to 237 lbs
ILB Chris Orr up 9 to 232 lbs
RB Jonathan Taylor up 7 to 221 lbs
S Scott Nelson up 8 to 202 lbs
WR Danny Davis III up 10 to 196 lbs

You can find the roster here

Injury reports and gambling the talk of Big Ten Media Days

CHICAGO – Earlier this summer the United States Supreme Court ruled that sports gambling could be made legal on a state-by-state basis. This ruling forced stances to be taken by all major leagues across the country. The Big Ten had an opportunity to comment on the matter Monday morning when commissioner Jim Delany spoke.

“We’ve had a lot of discussion about the changes in gambling that will obviously occur in the coming years,” Delany said. “I think that we would prefer a federal framework that either omits college sports from gambling at the state level.”

With the rules and regulations moving forward still fuzzy in many areas, it’s not known how possible this would be to make happen. Currently, there are no states with teams in the Big Ten in which sports betting is legal, however that may change soon.

Michigan, New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania all are projected to have legalized sports betting within the next two years according to a report from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. Those five states hold a total of seven Big Ten schools. There’s no promise that all of those states legalize gambling, but it’s certainly a possibility.

One of the things that has been requested is a league-wide injury report. An injury report is not a league-mandated memo at the time being, but some schools, such as Wisconsin and Northwestern, release one anyways.

Those releases aren’t always very specific or accurate. There have been instances where a player’s injury is made to seem less serious than it actually is. The reports aren’t necessarily very specific, either.

“We have an injury report at Northwestern that we’ve done for a number of years,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said Monday. “I’ve been accused of sometimes being honest and sometimes being less than honest. I would agree with that.”

If there is an injury report that is done across the league, there would need to be some type of accountability to ensure that teams are using it properly.

“I’m all for it,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said. “Now, the specific reason why somebody’s not playing, I don’t agree with. I think there’s a lot of things that our university and our policies that we have to protect with the student athlete’s rights.

“I’m a huge advocate. I’d love to be able to see who is going to be able to play and not play. I think that creates different game-planning. It gives you a better advantage. But you’re also giving somebody an advantage, so it’s an equal playing field. I think teams have the right to know that.”

The injury report would not only help each team in the conference, but it would also help out those looking to wager on games, both legally or illegally. While Delany called for protection regarding gambling, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was more blunt with his words.
“As far as gambling, don’t associate with gamblers, avoid it like the plague,” Harbaugh said. “Don’t walk away from that, run.”

Harbaugh, like the commissioner and most everyone else did agree with the injury report idea, however. The man of few words at the podium said he would support it.

“I don’t call it an injury report as much as I think about it as player availability,” Delany said. “Whether that comes out of an injury or whether it comes out of eligibility or comes out of some transgression of one kind or another, I think we need to do that.

“I think we need to do that nationally. And I think the reason we need to do that is probably with the exception of the home field, the availability of personnel is critical to people who are interested in gambling legally or illegally. And therefore, when players are unavailable, we should know that, if they’re probably or likely, I don’t have the model code, but I do think it’s something that we should do and probably should have done it before, but certainly should do it now.”

Mallards shut down Fon du Lac

The Madison Mallards took down the Fon du Lac Dock Spiders 3-1 in their Sunday night match up. Runs were at a premium, as both pitching staffs were able to work out of some jams and hold back the offense.

However, Andrew Baker dominated at the plate as the Dock Spiders were unable to retire him. He knocked in two runs off a two doubles, a single, and a walk. Baker broke the 1-1 tie in the sixth when he drove in Tyler Plantier, and added an insurance run in the eighth on a double to right field.

The Mallards are off until Thursday for the all-star break. The Mallards will be heavily represented in the match-up, as they are sending eight players and their managing staff.

Mallards drop first game in series with the Kenosha Kingfish

After a hot start to the second half of their season, the Mallards were humbled by the Kenosha Kingfish 14-6.

In a offensive duel, the Kingfish were able to get the better of the Mallards, bringing in 14 runs on 13 hits. The scoring started early and often, with the Kingfish scoring twice in the top of the first and three more times in the second, thanks in large part to Mallard’s errors. Though the Mals were able to score in the third thanks to a David Vinsky single, they were never able to get back into the game. Kenosha’s offensive barrage peaked in the eighth where they dropped  a whopping seven runs, including three homers in a row, on the usually competent Mallard’s defense.

Tanner Rogen was one of the lone bright spots from the night, giving up only one hit in two innings

The Mallards finish off their series with the Kingfish at 7:05 tomorrow night at the Duckpond .

Jerry Kelly, Steve Stricker come up just short at American Family Insurance Championship

MADISON — On Friday, Steve Stricker told reporters that events on the Champions Tour are “do-it-every day” type of tournaments because they last only three days, one less than on the main PGA Tour. Unfortunately for the Madison resident, he only played well on two of the three days, which led to his three-way third-place finish in the American Family Insurance Championship at University Ridge this weekend.

“[It’s] a microcosm of my year, really,” said Stricker, who shot 13-under for the tournament. “Some really good things and then throw some not-so-good things. Like yesterday, the whole round yesterday, that was the worst round I’ve played all year on any of the tours. That just killed me. If I could have just shot even par yesterday it would have given me a better opportunity.”

Instead, he shot a 2-over par 74, leaving him a 6-under coming into Sunday. Not even a very good round of 65 could get him to the top of the leaderboard.

Fellow Wisconsin native, Jerry Kelly, was also in the mix coming down the stretch, spending time in first place at 14-under. But he, like Stricker, couldn’t top Scott McCarron, who earned his first tour win of the year by shooting an 8-under 64 in the final round to finish at 15-under.

“I really thought it was going to happen,” Kelly said of him winning on what some might call his home course. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been on 16 and 17.”

Stricker was several holes in front of both Kelly and McCarron and knew the type of score he was going to need to win. But he missed birdie putts on the 17th and 18th holes that would have got him there.

“When we were coming in, I told Nicki (his wife and caddie) we’ve got to try to get to 15 [under],” Stricker said. “I saw that these guys are behind me, so I knew that they had the same holes to try to birdie as I did. I just thought that I needed to get to that number and just came up a little bit short. Had the opportunities, I just didn’t make those putts I needed to coming in.”

Kelly also had opportunities that he wasn’t able to convert, which were still on his mind afterwards.

“I’m disappointed, there’s no doubt,” Kelly said. “I want those putts back. I want to just go ahead and hit them hard, who cares what happens.”

In the end, though, both were pleased with the week overall, especially Stricker, who serves as host a tournament that is about a lot more than just golf. Nearly all the events this week, including a big concert Friday night, served as a fundraiser for the American Family Insurance Children’s Hospital.

“We’re fortunate the word is out that we’re doing some good things here, and obviously we’re raising monies for charities,” Stricker said. “But to get the support from the community and players alike [is great].”

Steve Stricker leads after first round of American Family Insurance Championship

MADISON — The first round of the American Family Insurance Championship is in the books, and there is a familiar name atop the leaderboard.

Madison’s Steve Stricker shot an 8-under 64 at University Ridge on Friday and owns a 1-shot lead in the Champions Tour event.

“It’s good just to get off to a fast start, which is key out here,” Stricker said. “There’s only three rounds, so you need to have a do-it-every-day attitude. This was the first day and I did well today. I’ve got to do the same thing (Saturday) and just keep doing what I’m doing. Just keep putting it in play and giving myself opportunities.”

Stricker went through the first nine holes at 4-under, but it probably should have been better. He missed a putt on the ninth hole for par that still had him a little upset afterwards, but he finished strong on the back nine.

“Absolutely not [with] the way he’s been playing,” said fellow Wisconsin native Jerry Kelly when asked if he was surprised with how well Stricker scored. “I talked with him (Thursday), and he was, of course, complaining that he couldn’t make anything. I know how well he’s hitting it.”

It’s Stricker’s second year being able to play on the Champions Tour, and the event makes for a tough back-to-back with the U.S. Open happening the week prior. But the fact he serves as the host, and more importantly, knowing all the benefits the event has for the kids at the American Family Children’s Hospital, Stricker is grinding through.

“It’s a lot of adrenaline this week. That’s kind of what I’m running on, I think,” Stricker said. “It’s a big week for us, so I’m just going with it. I’ll hit the wall, I’m sure, next week.”

Before that happens, he’ll have to fend off a stable of players that are within striking distance of the lead. Brad Bryant, who said he’s playing simply to get himself prepared for the U.S. Senior Open coming up, shot a 7-under 65 and sits in second place. Two shots behind him is Colin Montgomerie, John Daly and Steve Flesch. Kelly is tied for sixth at 4-under and last year’s champion, Fred Couples, is at 3-under.

“Now, it’s actually more fun,” Kelly said of the second and third rounds. “It’s ‘let’s go chase Steve.’”

Mallards winning streak hits 10 with 4-0 victory at Lakeshore

The Madison Mallards are on quite the roll, running their winning streak to 10 games Tuesday night with a 4-0 win at Lakeshore.

Three pitchers — Justin Watland, Brian Martinez and Tanner Rogen — combined for the shutout, allowing just four hits and striking out six. Martinez got the win and Rogen the save.

The game was scoreless until the fifth inning when Drew Ober drove in Jayse McLean following his leadoff triple. Madison would get two more in the sixth thanks to an Ober single with the bases loaded. Jake Randa capped the scoring in the ninth with an RBI single.

Winners of 10 in a row, Madison owns the best record in the Northwoods League at 12-3, sitting two games up on Wisconsin and Rockford for first place in the South Division.

The Mallards now come home to take on Lakeshore at the Duck Pond Wednesday night. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. You can hear all the action on 96.7 FM and 1670 AM ‘The Zone.’

Mallards down the Kingfish to push win streak to nine

The Mallards beat the Kenosha Kingfish 5-3 Monday night to extend their win streak to nine games. That number ties the longest winning streak in franchise history.

The game was a defensive showdown for the first five innings with Dalton Wiggins throwing a no hitter through the first six. The scoring started in the sixth when David Vinsky came up to plate with the bases loaded and knocked in a grand-slam, pushing the score to 4-0. The Kingfish made a valiant attempt to comeback with three runs in the ninth, but it fell short, with NIck Morales closing out the game.

The Mallards continue their road trip Tuesday night with a home-and-home series against the Lakeshore Chinooks.

Walk-off HR gives Mallards an 8th straight win

It took extra innings, but the Madison Mallards have won eight straight games.

Things were tied in the bottom of the 10th inning when catcher Hunter Hisky drilled a 2-run walk-off homer to beat the Kenosha Kingfish 7-5 on Sunday afternoon at Warner Park. It was the first homer of the season for Hisky, a senior at Southern Baptist.

Along with Hisky, the Mallards were paced by shortstop Garrett Kueber’s two RBIs, and a 2 for 3 night from third baseman Tyler Plantier, who is now batting a team-high .412 on the season.

All of the Kingfish’s runs came in the fourth inning off of starter Dalton Morrow, who had his first rough outing of the year. But the bullpen picked him up, holding Kenosha scoreless the rest of the way. Trace Norkus was credited with the win.

Madison is now 10-3 on the year, the best record in the Northwoods League, and it holds a 2-game lead on the Rockford Rivets in the South Division.

The Mallards and Kingfish will meet again Monday in Kenosha with first pitch coming at 6:35 p.m. You can catch all the action on 96.7 FM and 1670 AM ‘The Zone.’