(6/21/06) A night after baserunning mistakes cost them at least two runs in a 3-2 loss, the Mankato MoonDogs went the safe route to get a victory Wednesday night.
Nate Hanson and Ryan Addison led off the game with back-to-back home runs and the MoonDogs never looked back in beating the Northwoods League’s hottest team, the Rochester Honkers, 9-2. The Honkers had won eight straight and 11 of their past 12 games.
For once, Steve Salas was the beneficiary of the run support. Salas entered the game with a 1.76 ERA but an 0-3 record to show for his efforts. He was not unhittable on Wednesday, giving up 10 hits, but worked his way out of several jams to finish with nine strikeouts in seven innings while allowing just one run.
Hanson and Addison gave Salas some breathing room early, and Robert Rodebaugh provided even more later in the first inning with a double to score Tim Smith and give the ‘Dogs a 3-0 lead.
The MoonDogs doubled their lead in the third when Rodebaugh walked and Sean Halton singled him to third with nobody out. After Brandon Davis popped out, Chris Henault hit what appeared to be a double play ball to end the inning, but Honkers first baseman Efren Navarro could not handle the throw and Rodebaugh scored. The ‘Dogs took further advantage of the missed opportunity by the Honkers when Chris Rodriguez walked and Hanson delivered a single over the outstretched glove of his University of Minnesota teammate Dan Lyons to push the lead to 6-0.
The MoonDogs led 6-1 in the ninth when Addison doubled and Smith followed with an RBI single. After Shane Buschini walked, Halton doubled to score Smith, and Rodriguez later drew a bases loaded walk to conclude the Mankato scoring.
Jason Novak made his 2006 debut by pitching two innings, striking out two and giving up a leadoff double to Jeff Engel in the ninth inning. Engel would come around to score on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Bowley to provide the final margin.