The Madison Mallards’ bats went as quiet as a well-managed library in a 5-0 loss to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Thursday night at Warner Park.
Rafters starter Justin Beyer avenged last week's loss to the Mallards, surrendering just four hits over seven scoreless innings. Beyer struck out four and lowered his ERA to 2.25, picking up his first win of the season in the process.
Mallards hitting coach Ryne Stanley said his team lacked the energy needed to hit the ball well.
“We seemed a little dead today,” Stanley said.
Fate did not look kindly on the Mallards’ pitching and fielding either. In the top of the third, starting pitcher Kyle Jungers looked to shake off runners at the corners with one out. Right fielder Reeve Holley’s pop-out into shallow left field brought Jungers closer to making his dream a reality. But three straight singles from first baseman Hank Zeisler, designated hitter Ben Swords, and shortstop EJ Exposito crushed that dream and placed the Rafters at the helm 3-0.
Fast forward to the top of the sixth with catcher Weston Eberly at first and center fielder Addie Burrow, the cousin of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, at third. Catcher Drake Baldwin fired the ball to second and caught Eberly in a rundown as Burrow crept to home plate. Second baseman Dominic Toso then sailed a ball over the outstretched glove of Baldwin behind the plate to let Burrow cruise in to push it to 4-0.
Things got bloody in the top of the ninth when Mallards reliever Terrell Hudson’s curveball in the dirt came up on Baldwin and cut his left ear. Baldwin, with blood on his jersey, said he felt perfectly fine after the game. Hudson couldn’t stop the bleeding that inning, though, as his wild pitch later that inning sent in right fielder Reeve Holley from third and ultimately sank the Mallards 5-0.
The Mallards look to split the two-game series against the Rafters in Wisconsin Rapids on Friday night at 6:05 p.m.