Cal Friedman, @friedman_cal
DULUTH, Minnesota – After being held quiet by St. Cloud and Eau Claire, the bats meant business on Wednesday night.
The Duluth Huskies returned home in style, thumping the Mankato MoonDogs 14-3 at Wade Stadium. It was the second win of the season for Duluth against Mankato, in their first meeting since June 15th.
The Huskies scored just seven runs in their last two series, but within two innings, Duluth already had five runs across. Peyton Powell opened the scoring in the first, knocking an RBI single off the second base bag to give the Huskies the first run of the night.
One batter later, the Huskies stormed to a 3-0 lead. Colin Burgess looped a double to right-center field, just missed by Mankato’s center fielder Kai Roberts to plate two more.
Things didn’t get easier for MoonDogs starter Miles Garrett. Down to two outs in the second, Kristian Campbell poked a triple down the right field line to bring home Cam Frederick and Ambren Voitik to make it 5-0. Campbell, a 2022 Northwoods League All-Star, will be headed to Witter Field to represent the Great Plains Division on Tuesday.
Darrell Johnson Jr. earned his second start of the season, and produced his best outing of the season. Johnson worked around a walk in the first inning with a double play, then recorded back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the second and third frames.
Behind their starter, the Huskies didn’t let up. Jack Painter scored on a wild pitch, then Voitik blooped an RBI single back up the middle to make it 7-0, pulling Garrett out of the game.
The Huskies would tack on three more in that frame on a bases-loaded walk by Campbell and a two-run single by Powell put the Huskies into double figures, a 10-0 lead going into the fourth.
Darrell Johnson walked in the first run of the game in the fourth, but Jake Schelonka was able to close out a bases-loaded jam, keeping the lead at nine. Johnson finished throwing a season-long three and two-thirds innings, adding one strikeout, and giving up just one run.
The MoonDogs were able to claw two back in the sixth on a two-run double by Orlando Selinas, the only runs Schelonka gave up across a joint-season-best two and a third out of the bullpen.
Bobby Blandford entered the game after a Kristian Campbell hit by pitch, and was able to capitalize off the bench in the eighth. The Fresno State Bulldog poked an RBI single back up the middle to score Devin Hurdle, increasing the lead to 14-3. It was Blandford’s fifth RBI of the second half of the season.
Jaxon Edwards was able to finish out the ninth for his to give the Huskies their 22nd win of the season. Mankato slipped to 22-21 with the loss.
The Huskies will go for their first second-half sweep against the MoonDogs tomorrow at 6:35 P.M. RHP Donovan Schultz is expected to start for Mankato, while Jake Combs is the projected starter for Duluth.