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Woodchucks power past Madison

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WAUSAU PILOT AND REVIEW

The Wisconsin Woodchucks’ bats were hot Wednesday as they knocked off the Madison Mallards by a score of 9-5, bringing their record to 13-11 on the season.

The Woodchucks began scoring the  first inning when T.J. Reeves hit a solo home run with two outs to put the Chucks on the board for the first time of the night. The score was 1-0 heading into the bottom of the 1st inning.

But the Mallards had an answer in the bottom half of the inning. Justice Bigbie and Drew Benefield both hit a single with two outs, bringing up Andre Nnebe. Nnebe hit a slow ground ball that was fielded by the catcher Santino Miozzi, but his throw went soaring over 1st basement Cameron Swanger’s head and into the outfield. That allowed Bigbie and Benefield to score and the Mallards took a 2-1 lead.

The Woodchucks then responded nicely. Cameron Swanger hit a single in his first at-bat as a Woodchuck, and Javier Rosario hit one shortly after. Santino Miozzi reached on an error to load the bases for Kyle Simmons, who walked to bring in the tying run. Brandon Seltzer continued his hot streak by doubling with the bases still loaded to bring in two more runs, giving the Woodchucks a 4-2 advantage. But they weren’t done yet. Adam Frank hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Simmons, and a double by T.J. Reeves brought in Seltzer for his second RBI of the night in as many at-bats. The Woodchucks put up five runs in the 2nd inning, and led 6-2.

Things were quiet for a while, with starting pitcher Beau Nichols not allowing a run from the 2nd to 5th inning. But in the 6th, Drew Benefield hit a solo home run, his second in as many days to cut the Woodchuck lead to 6-3. Nichols retired the next three batters he faced.

The Woodchucks responded to the home run with one of their own as Kenny Rodriguez hit an opposite-field two-run blast in the top of the 7th to bring the Woodchuck lead to 8-3. It was Rodriguez’s second home run of the season.

The Mallards were able to get one run back in the bottom half of the 7th when Rodriguez misplayed a ball in right field, allowing Jordan Stephens to get to third base with a triple. A wild pitch by new pitcher Jose Varela brought Stephens to the plate, making the score 8-4.

The Mallards continued their comeback efforts in the 8th, when 1st basemen Justice Bigbie took the first pitch he saw from Jose Varela out of the park for a solo home run, his fourth of the season to make it 8-5. Varela was able to bounce back though, and retired the next three batters he faced.

T.J. Reeves led off the 9th inning with his second home run of the ball game, bringing the Woodchuck lead back to four runs at 9-5. Reeves has three home runs in five games for the Woodchucks.

Lenny Gwizdala came on in the 9th inning to shut the door on the Mallards. The first two Madison hitters singled but that’s all they got. Gwizdala retired the next three hitters and T.J. Reeves finished the game off with a diving catch in left field.

Top Performers

Beau Nichols pitched six innings, only giving up two unearned runs and striking out three batters while picking up his first win of the season.

Kenny Rodriguez hit his second home run of the season in the 7th inning, which extended the Woodchucks lead to 8-3.

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