Woodchucks’ Rally Falls Just Short in 12-inning Loss
WAUSAU, WI – Looking for their fourth come-from-behind victory in as many games in the young 2021 season, the Wisconsin Woodchucks were on the short end of a back-and-forth, 12-inning marathon, falling 5-4 to the Madison Mallards.
With the automatic runner on second activated from the 10th inning, Madison plated the go-ahead run with a pair of fielders’ choices in the 11th. The Woodchucks responded a half-inning later as Norris McClure beat a throw to home from third to knot the game at 4. The Mallards once again went on top with a sacrifice fly in the 12th.
With the Chucks trailing in the ninth, Noah Fitzgerald started the rally by leading off with a leadoff double. Tyler Kehoe singled in the second baseman two batters later as the Chucks made it 3-3.
Thursday’s matchup was pushed back 10 minutes as the grounds crew tended to a dampened field after an afternoon shower passed through the area.
Starting pitcher Tyler Hoeft allowed an unearned run in the second inning on a bases loaded walk. Wisconsin answered in the home half of the inning as Fitzgerald drove in Tyler MacGregor.
Madison made it 2-1 with a fifth inning RBI single, and 3-1 with a single to right an inning later.
The Woodchucks cut the deficit in half with a sixth inning as Fitzgerald logged his second RBI single of Thursday’s matchup, scoring McClure from second. Wisconsin held the Mallards scoreless for the next three innings, setting up the late-game rally.
Starting Pitcher Tyler Hoeft teamed up with catcher and Washington State University teammate Louie Albrecht to strike out six Mallards in five innings. Hoeft allowed two runs, none earned.
Reliever Harley Gollert threw five frames, allowing one earned run while having five strikeouts. He escaped a runners on the corners, one-out jam in the eighth and kept the Chucks within arms length of the Mallards in the late innings.
Fitzgerald went 3-4 with two RBIs, scoring game-tying run in the ninth and having a stolen base. He also advanced McClure with a sacrifice bunt in the 11th.