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Huskies come back rebuffed by Moon dogs

Kyle Morrison

DULUTH, MN.- The Huskies and the Moon Dogs braved pregame rain as they prepared to play game 2 of their two-game stint at Wade Stadium.

On the mound for the Huskies was the right-hander from Skyline College, Conor Hourigan, looking to improve a lackluster 5.40 ERA. His opponent on the Mankato side was Drew Buhr from Bellarmine University. Mankato’s right-hander was coming off two solid starts; his ERA was 3.60.

The Moon Dogs got the scoring started with a roar in the second. Moon Dogs’ first baseman hit a ringing opposite-field home run to put Mankato up 1-0 early on, only the sixth home run hit at Wade Stadium all year by any competitors.

Moon Dogs struck for two more in the top of the third on a Kai Roberts RBI double and a single from Sean Ross to put Mankato up 3-0. Huskies’ starter Conor Hourigan avoided a much worse fate by escaping a bases-loaded one-out jam. The Huskies were behind the eight-ball early.

The Huskies have been resilient all year, and they showed this resilience again when they scored two in the bottom of the fourth. Four straight singles started the inning, including an RBI from Devin Hurdle. The Huskies would score once again in the inning on an Elie Kligman hit-by-pitch with two outs and the bases loaded to make it 3-2.

The Huskies needed only one more inning to tie the score. J.D. Rogers walked to start the bottom of the fifth. He was picked off almost immediately after reaching base but juked out Moon Dog defenders to escape to second base. He ultimately reached third base and then subsequently scored on a Kristian Campbell sacrifice fly with one out in the inning.

Both starters gave up three runs in their outings. Drew Buhr got through five innings before giving way to Thomas Bruss, while Hourigan went six and a third and left the game with runners at first and second. Michael Sarhatt, the embattled relief pitcher, came into the game with a 19.29 ERA. In a momentous turnaround moment, Sarhatt got through the top of the seventh inning and kept the score tied as it went to the bottom of the inning.

The Huskies rode the momentum of Sarhatt’s seventh and immediately scored in their half of the frame. The aforementioned Thomas Bruss, despite a scoreless sixth, lost control of the game in the seventh. He walked Michael Hallquist and then issued two wild pitches that allowed him to move to third. After an Ambren Voitik hit by pitch, Kristian Campbell came through with another sacrifice fly to put the Huskies up 4-3.

Sarhatt’s comeback was put on the backburner in the eighth when he allowed two walks, three hits, and four runs. The first big blow for Mankato came on a Nick Altermatt single. The first run that scored on the single came in traditionally, while the second came in after J.D. Rogers’ throw got by the catcher Elie Kligman and allowed the back runner to score. The gears kept moving for Mankato as they scored again on a Sean Ross single, and then another defensive breakdown on a wild throw from Kligman on a caught stealing attempt allowed Ross to score. Duluth committed three errors in the inning. It was 7-4.

The Huskies come back magic ran out for them in this contest. They were closed out in the ninth by Mankato closer Tyson Neighbors, who picked up his fourth save of the year

Duluth now embarks on an eight-game road trip that will be kicked off with a double header in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, tomorrow. The first pitch of game one will be at 11:35 AM.

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The Duluth Huskies are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 28th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 280 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com. For more information, visit www.duluthhuskies.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Huskies as your favorite team.