Madison, WI — August 15, 2013. The Madison Mallards overcame an early 4-1 deficit Thursday night in Game No. 1 of the Summer Collegiate World Series but used a six-run inning in the fifth and held off a late Huskies comeback attempt to win 10-7 and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Huskies No. 9 hitter Christoph Bono (UCLA) hit a solo home run off of Mallards reliever Charlie Naso (Illinois) in the top of the eighth to pull the Huskies within two. Naso then threw seven-straight balls, but battled back from a 3-0 count against Conor Szczerba (Florida Southern). He struck him out on a full count and catcher Jason Goldstein (Illinois) caught Kyle Teaf (South Florida) stealing to complete the strike him out, throw him out play to end the inning.
After John LaPrise (Virginia) came around to score for an insurance run in the ninth after a Drew Weeks (North Florida) single and an error by Bono in right field, Naso came back in for the ninth and struck two batters out in a 1-2-3 inning.
The Mallards will head to Duluth Friday for Game No. 2 and the first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 pm. If the Mallards win Friday, they will secure their second Northwoods League Championship. If they fall, Game No. 3 will also take place in Duluth and that game will begin at 6:35 pm as well.
The Mallards finally put something together against Huskies starter Parker Trewin (North Dakota St.) in the fifth after scoring one in the first and sending only 10 to the plate over the next three innings. After walking the Mallards No. 9 hitter Brock Stewart (Illinois State), Kyle Ruchim (Northwestern) doubled down the left field line and John LaPrise followed up with an RBI single. After two more RBI singles from Drew Weeks (North Florida) and Joe McCarthy (Virginia), Alex Bacon (North Florida) hit a three-run home run to left center to give the Mallards a 7-4 lead.
It was Bacon's second-consecutive night with a three-run home run to give the Mallards a lead, as he hit a three-run shot in the ninth Wednesday night in Lakeshore to give the Mallards a 5-3 lead.
The Huskies would claw back to within two in the top of the seventh by capitalizing on a Mallards error to start the inning. Jeff Zahn (Indiana State) collided with Mallards catcher Jason Goldstein (Illinois) on a sky-high popup along the first base line and allowed Huskies first baseman Trey Vavra (Eastern Illinois) to reach second. After a walk and an RBI single from Keith Curcio (Florida Southern), Jered Meek (New Mexico) recorded an RBI on a groundout to Ruchim at short.
But the Mallards were right back at it in the next half inning and loaded the bases against Huskies reliever Josh Bornstein (UC-Irvine). Jake Wakeland (Kellogg CC) then came in and got McCarthy to ground out to first but a run came across. He then hit Bacon with a pitch and Goldstein grounded out to the pitcher to push another one across to give the Mallards a 9-6 lead.
The Mallards other run came in the first after Ruchim and LaPrise led off the inning with singles and Weeks was walked. Designated hitter Mike Fitzgerald (Indiana State) then grounded into a 6-3 double play and Ruchim was able to score on the play.
The Mallards were led by Bacon and his three RBIs as well as LaPrise, who went 4-for-5 and scored three times. McCarthy was the other Mallards player besides Bacon to finish with multiple RBIs and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Curcio, the Northwoods League Co-MVP, went 3-for-5 with an RBI to lead the Huskies. Szczerba was the only other Huskies batter with multiple hits and went 2-for-4 with a run scored and no Huskies hitter finished with mulitiple RBIs.
The Madison Mallards are part of the 16-team Northwoods League. The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America. In 2013, the Northwoods League is celebrating its 20th season.