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Huskies Split Series Against MoonDogs

Cal Friedman, @friedman_cal

DULUTH, Minnesota – For the third time this week, the Huskies left the tying run at the plate.

It was tough break for the Duluth Huskies Friday night, falling to the Mankato MoonDogs 4-2 at Wade Stadium. 

Right-hander Jake Combs earned his second start at Wade Stadium this season. Combs started hot, striking out the side in the first inning, then striking out the final two batters in the second.

Opposing him was one of Mankato’s top pitchers, Donovan Schultz. The Evansville product entered Friday night’s contest with a commanding 1.87 ERA, not giving up an earned run since June 24th.

That streak broke almost instantly, with the Huskies taking a 1-0 lead within three batters. Jonathan Vastine singled back up the middle, and Kristian Campbell laced an RBI double to left center field to score the Vanderbilt product from second base. It was the 35th RBI of the season for Campbell, and his fourth of the series against Mankato.

The MoonDogs were able to bounce back with the top of their order. Dustin Crenshaw poked a double into shallow left field, then Boston Merila brought in a run on an RBI groundout.

Two-out hitting was huge in the Huskies’ 14-4 win in game one against Mankato, and emerged again in game two. Peyton Powell knocked in his fifth RBI of the series with a single off the glove of shortstop Simon Scherry to restore the Huskies’ lead going into the middle innings.

A 2-1 lead wasn’t enough for the Huskies to hold. Shortstop Simon Scherry hit a sacrifice cfly to left field to tie the game in the sisth. Combs finished his outing with a groundout after, finishing with a season-best 6.0 IP with seven strikeouts.

The game remained deadlocked until the eighth, when Mankato were able to take their first lead of the night. Charles McAdoo poked a two-run single to right field, past the dive of Cam Frederick to make it 4-2. The runs were earned by Nolan Lebamoff, who had previously worked out of a jam in the seventh.

Lebamoff took the loss, dropping to 3-1 on the season.

In just his second appearance of the season, Jakob Meyer was excellent for the MoonDogs. The right hander tossed two shutout innings to record his first win of the season.

Tyson Neighbors entered for the ninth, and immediately the Huskies threatened. Jack Painter led off the ninth with his first double of the season, but Neighbors responded to strike out Vastine and Voitik to seal the MoonDogs’ 23rd win of the season. Neighbors picked up his eighth save of the season.

The Huskies and MoonDogs will continue their final meetings of the season tomorrow at ISG Field in Mankato. The two-game set marks the first time the Huskies traveling to Mankato since the opening series of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 P.M.