Madison, WI – June 5, 2012 – Another tight game against the Mallards took place at Witter Field Tuesday night, and the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (4-3) clawed a victory against Madison (3-4) for the second straight night in front of 1,049. It was the Rafters second straight win, the first time the Rafters have won consecutive games this season, and the 4-3 mark is the first time in franchise history that the team sits above .500. The Mallards dropped their fourth straight ballgame and remain winless on the road (0-3).
The Mallards loaded the bases in the second and the third, but Rafters starter Cole Webb (SO, Coffeyville CC), stranded the runners in both frames. A groundball out with the bases loaded and two outs in the second by the Mallards Vince Bruno got Webb out of the second. In the third, the Rafters' Pat Kelly (FR, Univ. of Nebraska) turned a 6-3 double play, gliding to his right, sliding across the bag, and firing to first to get his starter out of the third. It was one of three twin-killings for the Rafters on Tuesday.
Webb faced just one over the minimum in the next two innings, getting another 6-3 double-play from Kelly in the sixth to finish his night. The Tusla, OK native pitched six solid innings, scattering four hits and three walks, stranding seven Mallards, and picking up his second quality start in the no decision. Webb also struck out a pair. He left with the game tied, as Mallards' starter Alec Mills was just as good—if not better—than Webb. Mills stuck out only four tonight, after 13 in his first outing of the year, but tossed six scoreless innings as well. The Rafters managed just four hits off of him, and he walked only one, striking out four.
The Rafters put two on in the sixth, getting Kelly's second double when Austin Neary (FR, Western Carolina Univ.) took a ball in the back from Mills. Neary, the DH, would leave the game in pain and was replaced by Michael Jurgella (FR, St. Cloud State Univ). Alex Bacon (SO, Univ. of North Florida) popped out to end the frame, however.
In the seventh, however, the Rafters would strike. Mills was replaced by southpaw hurler Sam Forkert who hadn't given up a run in his four appearances this year. In fact, in his 4.1 IP, the lefty had yet to allow a baserunner. It would be a change of scenery for Forkert, as the first batter he faced, Josh Cyr (JR, Univ. of North Alabama), reached on an error, the second of the night on Madison, then back-to-back bunt singles loaded the bases with nobody out.
After a mound visit from the pitching coach Keith Richie, the Rafters brought up a pinch hitter, Jordan Dreiling (RS JR, Univ. of Kansas). Dreiling grounded a 2-0 pitch into right to bring around two runs, as Cyr scored and Sean Godfrey (SO, Ball State Univ.), beat the relay throw to the plate with a slide.
Tommy Danczyk (SO, St. Thomas Univ.) blanked the Mallards for two innings of relief, picking up the win and allowing only one hit. Forkert (1-1) took the loss for the Mallards. Skyler Debillzen tossed a scoreless ninth and picked up the first save of the Rafters season, first of his Northwoods League career in his second season with Wisconsin Rapids.
Bacon didn't pick up a hit but walked twice, extending his on-base streak to seven games.
With the win, the Rafters, improved to 4-3 overall and 3-1 at home. The Mallards, dropping their fourth straight game, fell to 3-4 and 0-3 on the road. The Rafters host the Wisconsin Woodchucks for the first game of a three-game set tomorrow night, and will put Cam Seidl (0-0, 4.15 ERA) on the mound. First pitch is at 7:05.