Wausau Woodchucks infielder Brayden Smith. (Photo courtesy of Wausau Woodchucks)

For Wausau Pilot & Review

WAUSAU – The Wausau Woodchucks improved to 6-0 at Athletic Park this season after posting a 4-3 win over the Madison Mallards in a Northwoods League baseball game Monday night.

Tyler Smith (University of South Alabama) made his second start for the Chucks and went a full six innings pitched, tallying a season-high seven strikeouts while allowing just three hits and no earned runs and picked up his second win of the season.

In his NWL debut, Isaac Webb (Corpus Christi) reached on an infield bunt single up the third base line. The resulting throw was an error that allowed Daniel Harden (McClennan Community College) to score the first run of the game.

The game remained a pitchers’ duel until the bottom of the fifth, when the Woodchucks cracked the scoring open. On a bases loaded situation, Jake Berkland (Minnesota State) hit one into the gap for a single, scoring Webb. On the very next pitch, Drew Berkland (University of Minnesota) also hit for a bunt single, scoring Deiten Lachance (McClennan Community College) to bring the score to 3-0.

A few batters later, Jake Berkland attempted a steal of home. He was initially ruled out, but after a conference of the umpires, the play was ruled a catcher’s balk, allowing him to score what would ultimately be the game-winning run to bring the score to 4-0.

Eric Valdez (Feather River College) was brought in to close out the game and struck out one to earn the save.

The Woodchucks (11-3) will play at home Tuesday night against the Eau Claire Express. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.