(Mankato, MN)—The Mankato MoonDogs Baseball Club, a member of the Northwoods League, is proud to announce Neil Wagner from North Dakota State University has signed a contract to play with the MoonDogs for a second season.
After making a name for himself last season at NDSU in which he was 6-0, with a school record 12 saves, a miniscule ERA of 1.40 and racked up 59 strikeouts in just 39 innings, Major League scouts took notice. Wagner is listed as the #1 ranked pitcher as well as the #1 ranked draft prospect in all of Division I Independent Baseball, according to Baseball America.
NDSU joined 11 other teams in Division I Independent Baseball this year, after claiming the Division II North Central Conference title last May.
"Neil will be a great addition to have back with the MoonDogs,” General Manager Kyle Mrozek said, "but we also recognize the potential of his high draft status.”
Wagner, (6’0” 195 lbs.) now in his junior season at NDSU, established himself as one of the most dominating pitchers in Division II college baseball last season allowing only 6 earned runs all year. During one stretch of the season, Wagner appeared in 17 games throwing 19 scoreless innings before his streak was broken. Following that one run allowed, he started a new streak going 10 more consecutive scoreless innings.
Wagner’s 90+ mph fastball lit up the radar display at Franklin Rogers Park last year, giving the hometown fans a chance to see one of the hardest throwing pitchers in all of the Northwoods League. He led all MoonDogs pitchers in opponents batting average (.186) while tying for the team lead in saves(4) with Kevin Dixon(MSU Mankato).
In the classroom, Wagner is shinning just as bright as on the field, as he was named to the Academic All-NCC Team last May, for his 3.92 GPA while majoring in biological science.
Wagner and the Bison of NDSU open their inaugural Division I season on February 18 against Utah Valley State, while their home opener is set for March 31, 2005. On their 55-game schedule, 49 of those games are against DI schools including Kansas, Kansas State and the perennial college powerhouse Minnesota Gophers.
MoonDogs baseball starts June 1, against the reigning NWL Champion Madison Mallards, in Madison. The 2005 Home Opener is set for Monday June 6, against the St. Cloud River Bats. Season tickets and group tickets are on sale now, with single game tickets available May 7. Call the MoonDogs ticket office, 507-625-7047.