Mankato Knocks Wind Out of Loggers’ Sail
Mankato, Minn. – The MoonDogs score 5 runs in the 7th and the Loggers lose on an 8-6-5 double play, 7-8 in Mankato.
Mason McCoy (Iowa) got the Loggers’ 1st inning started with a leadoff single. A one out double by Cullen Large (William & Mary) moved him to 3rd base. McCoy scored on the next play on a sacrifice fly to right field by Grant Fennell (Nevada).
Mankato answered in the bottom of the inning by loading the bases with their first three batters on a walk, double, ad hit-by-pitch. After a strikeout, Bryce Adams (LSU) gave the MoonDogs the lead with a 2-run single.
With Justin Wylie (San Diego State) on 3rd base and two outs, Mason McCoy tied the game up with a single. Griffin Conine (Duke) followed him with his 16th home run of the season, a 2-run shot that gave the Loggers a 4-2 lead. While leading the league in home runs, he ties former Logger David Schultz (2003) for second most home runs in a season by a Logger player. He now trails Michael Katz who hit 18 home runs in 2013.
A wild pitch, in the bottom of the 2nd, by Loggers’ starting pitcher Dave Smith (Long Beach State) scored another Mankato run, but the La Crosse offensive continued to extend their lead in the 3rd inning. Grant Fennell (Nevada) started the inning off with a leadoff double. He scored on a one out groundout to the first baseman by catcher Cesar Salazar (Arizona). Justin Wylie (San Diego State) topped off the inning with a solo home run, his third of the season.
With a 7-3 lead in the 5th, Zach Kesterson (Duke) came into the game in relief. He retired the first seven batters he faced, until an error by the Loggers third baseman allowed Alex Tucker (Nicholls State) to advance to 1st. A double by David Metzgar (Cal. State Bakersfield) put runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs. Jordan Washam (Louisiana Tech) brought both runners in on a double himself. After another double brought Mankato within a run, Cason Sherrod (Texas A&M) came in to try to close the inning. Jake Shepski (Notre Dame) scored the tying run on a drop third strike. A bases loaded walk followed to give the MoonDogs an 8-7 lead.
The Loggers fought back with everything they had. After a strikeout, La Crosse loaded the bases with two walks and a single. Kyle Plantier (UC-Santa Barbara) looked to bring in the tying run with a fly out to center field with Lars Nootbaar (USC) tagging from 3rd. He arrived safely at home, but was called out at 3rd base for leaving the base before the ball was caught, ending the game.
Cody O’Brien (Austin Peay) earned the win (2-1) for Mankato. He pitched 2.1 innings, giving up no runs on no hits. He walked one batter.
Zach Kesterson took the loss (2-5) for La Crosse. He pitched 2.2 innings, giving up 5 runs (all unearned) on 3 hits. He walked a batter with 3 strikeouts.
Kevin Yarabinec (Youngstown State) pitched a scoreless 9th inning for his 7th save of the season.
La Crosse falls to 19-14 in the 2nd half (36-33 overall). Mankato moves to 22-12 in the 2nd half (44-25 overall). La Crosse heads home from the final series of the regular season, against their I-90 rival Rochester Honkers. Game time tomorrow is 6:05 with the gates opening at 5 pm. Stick around after the game for a Fireworks Extravaganza!