Scott Williams turned the tables on the Madison Mallards Tuesday night at the Duck Pond.
After getting shelled — eight runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings — the last time he pitched in Madison on June 4, the sophomore from Portage, Wis., kept the Mallards off balance all night Tuesday, allowing just one run on five hits over seven inning of work.
Williams earned the win in the Waterloo Bucks’ 6-3 victory over Madison, while Joe Yermal took the loss for the Mallards, allowing four runs on four hits in three innings.
“He just had more command of his stuff tonight,” shortstop Joe DePinto said of Williams. “He was throwing it where he wanted to, and even when we got guys on base he got ahead of batters and was able to put them away.”
It looked like the Mallards were ready to jump on Williams early once again, when DePinto got things started in the first with a one-out triple to right center. Joe Patterson brought in the run with a single up the middle, giving them a 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Mallards, that was as much as they would get off Williams the rest of the night.
After allowing a two-out single to first baseman Jerrud Sabourin, the righty from UW-Stevens Point went on to retire the next 12 batters he faced before issuing back-to-back walks in the fifth inning. He followed by retiring the next three in order.
Williams’ biggest advantage in the game was retiring the leadoff hitter in each of the seven innings he pitched, including four leadoff strikeouts.
“That’s probably the key,” DePinto said. “That first batter, if they get on base, we’re going to score. When guys go down without putting the ball in play, it’s a little demoralizing, but it’s part of the game and we’ve got to just battle past that.”
While the Bucks got strong pitching and defense to hold off their opponent, the Mallards struggled in those departments.
Waterloo scored their six runs in the first six innings, plating a pair in each of the second, third and fifth innings. The first two runs came as a result of some sloppy plays in the outfield.
After Frazier Hall singled to lead off the inning, Ryan Rieger followed with a single of his own to right field. Hall was able to score on the play and Rieger reached third when Madison right fielder Jimmy Parque took his eye off the ball and allowed it to get by him and roll all the way to the fence.
Rieger would come around to score on Willie Argo’s grounder to second.
Parque made a similar mistake on a sharp single by Josh Lyon, letting it get by him again as it bounced off his glove, allowing Lyon to reach third on the single.
“The first one just took a bad bounce and I took my eye off it,” Parque said. “I think I was trying to throw the guy out before I even had the ball. On the second one, I tried to stay in front of it — the ball was smashed at me — but I guess I could have squared up a little better and it just went off my glove.”
The next two runs for Waterloo came on a Michael Giller home run to deep right field, which gave the Bucks a 4-1 lead and proved to be the eventual game winner.
Yermal was removed from the game after the inning due to an elbow injury.
In the fifth inning, they plated two more runs against reliever Danny Burawa. The first came around on a passed ball with the bases loaded. Burawa loaded the bases again when he hit the next batter, who appeared to have completed his swing on the pitch.
Mallards manager C.J. Thieleke argued the call, but was eventually ejected by the field umpire.
“I’m not going to get ejected unless I think I’m right,” Thieleke said. “He swung the bat and got hit. At that point in time I also thought we needed something to get the guys fired up.”
After the next batter was retired on strikes, the Bucks’ sixth and final run came across on a fielder’s choice ground ball by Argo.
Madison finally struck again in the ninth inning against Waterloo reliever Jared Wagoner, but it was too little too late, as the Mallards could not pull off yet another comeback win.
“We’ve had a lot of comeback wins,” DePinto said. “It’d be nice to get ahead in the game every once in a while, but if that’s the type of team we’re going to be, then we need to win games like this.”
Following a two-out single by Kurtis Muller, DePinto drove another ball off the wall in center, plating the Mallards’ second run. Greg Bieker followed with another double, a blooper to left, to drive in the shortstop from USC and cut the Bucks’ lead to 3 runs.
But just when it seemed the momentum had shifted in the Mallards’ favor, second baseman Mark Ginther was retired on the first pitch he saw to end the game.
Madison and Waterloo will square off again Wednesday as the Bucks’ look to become the first team to sweep the Mallards this season.