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Published On: July 6th, 2006

(7/2/06) Jason Novak has been a force out of the Mankato MoonDogs bullpen recently. On Monday night, he became accustomed to the bad luck that other members of the MoonDogs pitching staff has experienced in the first half of the 2006 season.

The MoonDogs’ fifth error of the game opened the door for the Madison Mallards to score twice in the 12th inning, and then the Mallards staved off a MoonDogs rally in the bottom of the inning to post a 4-3 win before 1,106 fans at Franklin Rogers Park.

After a Joe Oliver single with one out in the 12th, Jordan Comadena reached on an error by MoonDogs second baseman Matt Mossey. Bobby Hubbard singled to load the bases, and Novak struck out Ryan Bond for the second out. But Spencer Steedley singled to right, driving home a pair of unearned runs to give the Mallards a 4-2 lead.

The MoonDogs attempted to rally in the their half of the 12th, as Tim Smith took advantage of a wild bounce over the head of first baseman Randy Molina for a double to score Mossey. The Mallards elected to intentionally walk Shane Buschini, a strategy that paid off when Adam Kampsen grounded back to the pitcher to end the game.

Buschini and Mossey posted multi-hit games for Mankato, who took an early 1-0 lead but could have had much more. Will Penniall, making his MoonDogs debut, led off the game with a single to left. With the infield drawn in expecting a bunt, Ryan Addison doubled past third baseman Mitch Saum. After Smith was hit by a pitch, Buschini singled to right to score Penniall. But Chris Brown, Sean Halton and Chris Henault all struck out to leave the bases loaded and waste a chance for the MoonDogs to break the game open.

Madison tied the game in the fourth when, with Molina at third with one out, Saum lifted a fly ball to right too shallow to score Molina. But Buschini’s throw home sailed to the backstop, allowing Molina to score the tying run.

The Mallards took the lead in the seventh after Kris Rochelle singled and stole second, then scored on a single by Comadena, which chased MoonDogs starter Johnnie Lowe from the game. Lowe, who entered the game with the Northwoods League’s lowest ERA at 0.54, allowed two runs on six hits over 6.2 innings.

Mankato rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, whhen Henault walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Ryan Manthei struck out, Mossey delivered a clutch single to score Henault and send the game into extra innings, where the MoonDogs had won four straight before Monday’s loss.

Mankato MoonDogs—Baseball Unleashed!