In a game that was characterized by solid pitching and poor defense across both sides, the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (7-4) outlasted the Madison Mallards (8-4) on Saturday night at Warner Park.
Despite committing a season-high five errors, the Rafter pitching staff struck out 12 Mallards and sank their division rival by a final score of 5-4 in front of a crowd exceeding 6,000.
Following their rain-shortened loss last night, the Rafters handed the ball to right-hander Dylan File (Dixie State) for his first start and second outing as a Rafter. In five innings of work, File stifled the potent Mallard lineup, surrendering just two earned runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out five.
With the Rats trailing 1-0 entering the fifth inning, their lineup would finally solve opposing starter Frank German and plate three runs courtesy of two Mallard errors and a wild pitch. German would not record a single out in the fifth inning before being lifted.
After a response from the Mallards in the bottom of the fifth to cut the score to 3-2, the ensuing inning would bring across another run for the Rafters. Yet another wild pitch—one of five committed by the Mallards—plated Luke Pettersen (Minnesota) and extended the Rafter lead to 4-2. In the seventh inning, center fielder Logan Mattix slapped an RBI double over the head of Mallard center fielder Cameron Frost and brought home the Rafters’ fifth run of the evening, widening their advantage to 5-2.
With runners on second and third and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, a pop fly behind second base would skip off the mitt of Drew McLaughlin (Dixie State) and allow both Mallard runners to come home. Luckily for the Rafters, the Ducks were quieted the rest of the way by strong bullpen performances from Cameron Busby (Georgia College) and Garrett Schilling (Xavier). Following a two-out throwing error from Patrick Cromwell, Schilling delivered a three-pitch strikeout of Lucas Halstead to leave the tying run on base and lift the Rafters to a 3-1 record at Warner Park.
The Rafters will return home to Witter Field tomorrow night to face their first encounter with the expansion Rockford Rivets and the first of six consecutive home games. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05pm.