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Published On: March 23rd, 2006

(Mankato, MN) — The Mankato MoonDogs Baseball Club, a member of the Northwoods League, is proud to announce freshman shortstop Brandon Crawford, of UCLA, will return for a second season with the MoonDogs.

Despite strong interest expressed by several teams prior to the 2005 MLB Draft, Crawford opted to pursue a collegiate baseball career at UCLA, and spent the summer with the MoonDogs. Arriving late as he awaited his high school graduation in June, Crawford played in 42 games for the MoonDogs in 2005. He hit .274 with nine doubles and scored 20 runs. More impressively, Crawford showcased his speed swiping all 17 bases he attempted last season.

"Brandon is game-changing player. He can beat you with his smooth-fielding defense, his potent offensive or his lighting-fast speed,” head coach Jason Nell said.

After the season ended, Crawford returned to California where he joined Coach John Savage at UCLA as part of the fifth ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to Baseball America.

Another of the many accolades Crawford has received in his young collegiate career, on January 17, 2006 he was tabbed at the 24th best freshman in collegiate baseball, once again according to Baseball America.

As a true-freshman who has taken the role as the starting shortstop at UCLA, Crawford has literally come out the gates swinging in his 2006 campaign. Leading the Bruins (4-6) in almost every offensive category, Crawford is posting a .378 batting average, a .568 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .465. He ranks first in total bases (15) and stolen bases (2), while his three triples lead the Bruins and the PAC-10 Conference. He is second on the team in RBI (5) and third in runs scored (4). Also, Crawford has recorded a hit in nine of the ten games on the season, and is currently on an eight-game hitting streak.

"We were extremely impressed last year by Brandon’s talent, natural abilities and maturity for being as young as he was. To be able to have him come back for a second season, providing leadership and an even more polished skill set, Brandon will be a major contributor for us this summer,” MoonDogs general manager Kyle Mrozek said.

The MoonDogs open their 2006 schedule on the road against the Waterloo Bucks, in Waterloo, IA on June 1. They will return home on Friday June 2 for the Home Opener. For your chance to be at that game and all 33 other MoonDogs home games this season, season tickets are on sale now, as well as group and hospitality tickets. Call the MoonDogs Ticket Office at 507-625-7047 for more information or go to

Mankato MoonDogs– Baseball Unleashed!