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MoonDogs Win in Willmar on Late Inning Rally

WILLMAR, Minn. The MoonDogs salvaged a split in their two game series against division leading Willmar, winning 9-4 on Tuesday night at Bill Taunton Stadium. Things started out well for Mankato when as they scored a pair of runs in the top of the first. Kenton Crews reached with a one out single and Nick Vaage drove him in with an RBI double. Zac Wiley followed with a single to score Vaage from second.

 

The Stingers answered in the bottom of the first, scoring three runs of their own thanks in large part to Nolan Bumstead who hit a two run home run over the left field fence off MoonDogs starting pitcher Ricky Digrugilliers. The MoonDogs tied it at three in the top of the second when Alvaro Rubalcaba singled to score CJ Schaeffer from second.  Then Willmar took a 4-3 lead in the third, with Marcus McCorkle scoring on a wild pitch after stealing a base.

 

The score remained tied at three for the next four innings, both teams earning chances with runners in scoring position but failing to drive them in. The MooDogs finally broke the dead lock in the top of the eighth off Stingers reliever Braxton Johns. Zac Wiley led off with a single and advanced to second on a Brett Newberg sacrifice bunt. Sam Troyer came in to pinch run for Wiley at second and immediately stole third base on the next pitch. Jake Ortega walked to put runners on the corners and CJ Schaeffer grounded out, bringing in Troyer to tie the game.

 

Ethan Valdez came through with a single to score the go ahead run, Ortega, from second. The MoonDogs really broke open the scoring in the ninth, adding five insurance runs on five hits to lead 9-4 and that is the way it stayed, as Nick Belzer finished off the ninth, facing six Stingers hitters. Austin Bollinger grabbed the win for Mankato, relieving Digrugilliers in the sixth inning and working 2.2 innings while giving up zero runs on a pair of hits. Braxton Johns took the loss for Willmar.

 

The two game series split with Willmar means the MoonDogs record improved to 4-4 and they have split every two game series since the beginning of the 2017 season. Willmar's loss drops their record to 5-3 and out of first place in the NWL North Division standings. The MoonDogs will continue their three game road trip tomorrow when they take on the Waterloo Bucks at 6:35 at Riverfront Stadium. They return home Friday for a pair of games against Thunder Bay.

 

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 The Mankato MoonDogs are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 170 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM).  All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit [www.mankatomoondogs.com]or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the MoonDogs as your favorite team.

 

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The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 170 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC).

All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.