For Wausau Pilot & Review

MADISON – After letting an early lead slip away, the Wausau Woodchucks (29-28) couldn’t find the late offense to match the Madison Mallards (24-34) in a 6-4 loss at Warner Park on Friday night in Northwoods League baseball action.

The Woodchucks scored all four of their runs in the fourth inning, a rally sparked by singles from Bradley Comer (UW-Stevens Point) and Camden Janik (Illinois). A bases-loaded walk by Zach Kluvers (North Dakota State) got the visitors on the board before an error plated Dwight Allen (Georgia) to give them the lead.

Hagen Escoto (Seattle) did not start the game but replaced Chase Hug (Evansville) in the third. With two outs in the fourth, he delivered a two-RBI single to drive in both Kluvers and Tyler Cox (Eckerd).

Woodchucks starter Aidan Major (West Virginia) showed good command in his final outing of the summer. The righty struck out four and allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings. After the Mallards cut the deficit to 4-2 in the fifth, Major stranded two runners with a key strikeout. Madison left six men on base in the game’s first five innings.

But in the sixth, the Mallards rallied. A pair of infield singles and a controversial safe call on a fielder’s choice loaded the bases, and Madison scored on a passed ball to make it 4-3.

The Mallards then took the lead on a two-RBI single and rode their bullpen the rest of the way.

Bryce Leedle (St. Thomas) struck out eight Woodchucks over 3 1/3 innings in relief. In the eighth, a Woodchucks’ rally ended when closer Steven Lacey (Delta State) stranded two runners. He struck out the side in the ninth to earn a save and give Madison a series split.

The Woodchucks lead the season series 6-4, and will play the Mallards again in the final two games of the season Aug. 12 and 13.

Wausau will head to Fond du Lac for a game at 6:35 p.m. Saturday before taking on those same Dock Spiders at Athletic Park in Wausau on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.