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Published On: June 5th, 2006

(6/2/06) Baseball has been called a game of inches. The Mankato MoonDogs found that out firsthand Thursday night.

Waterloo starter Nate McDonald silenced the MoonDogs’ bats, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning as the Bucks topped visiting Mankato 1-0 on Opening Night.

The ‘Dogs were not without scoring opportunities, however. Shortstop Nate Hanson was thrown out at the plate after trying to score from first on a throwing error. McDonald threw errantly to first base on a Tim Smith sacrifice bunt, and with the ball trickling down the first base line, Hanson tried to score. Bucks catcher Pat Schneider blocked the plate, and a perfect throw arrived in time to throw out Hanson.

The MoonDogs loaded the bases in the seventh inning, and Chris Rodriguez, already with one of Mankato’s two hits on the night, hit a sharp line drive to second base. With the Bucks playing the second baseman in shallow right field, a leaping Howell Finch tipped the ball into the air, then caught it on the way down to take away a hit which would have given the MoonDogs the lead.

While McDonald shined for Waterloo, MoonDogs starter John Lowe was matching him by throwing a shutout into the fifth inning. With two outs in the fifth, Lowe surrendered a single to Bryan Resnick, and Rob Matlock was waved around third. MoonDogs left fielder Bobby Verbick appeared to have a chance to throw out Matlock, but the ball skipped past him for an error to score the game’s lone run. Lowe finished by scattering six hits over five innings, striking out four and walking two while allowing just the one unearned run.

Lowe gave up a leadoff single in the sixth, and head coach Jason Nell summoned Jason Belk from the bullpen. Belk kept the game a one-run affair by tossing two scoreless innings, with two strikeouts and giving up just one hit. Matt Mossey, returning for his second season with the MoonDogs, worked a perfect ninth.

Sean Halton joined Rodriguez as the only two MoonDogs to tally base hits on the night, both infield singles.

Mankato MoonDogs– Baseball Unleashed!