(7/7/06) The Mankato MoonDogs got the second half of the Northwoods League season off to a winning start, rallying for three runs in the seventh inning, then staving off a ninth inning rally by the Alexandria Beetles to claim a 4-3 win Friday night.
Nothing came easy for the MoonDogs, however. The ‘Dogs committed five errors, and could only muster three hits offensively. Fortunately, two of those hits came in the key seventh inning, when the MoonDogs turned a 2-1 defecit into a 4-2 lead.
Shane Buschini drew a leadoff walk, then stole second with one out. Ryan Addison followed with a single up the middle to score Buschini, and Addison advanced to second on the throw home. With two outs, Sean Halton and Ben Geelan drew consecutive walks from Beetles starter Brett Hunter, and after a pitching change, Chris Henault drove a 1-0 pitch into left field to score two runs and give the MoonDogs the lead.
That lead was turned over to closer Jason Novak to record the final six outs. Novak cruised through the eighth inning, recording two strikeouts on fastballs scraping the outside corner. But Novak ran into trouble in the ninth, after Halton committed the MoonDogs’ fourth error to allow Tim Stewart to reach. Lucas Duda’s single moved Stewart to third, where he scored on an error by Novak. After a sacrifice bunt moved two runners into scoring position, Novak struck out Derek VanBuskirk for the second out, and got Jermaine Curtis to foul out to end the game.
Matt Mossey, who compiled a 1.14 ERA in 23.2 relief innings this season, earned the win in his first start of the year. Mossey allowed just three hits and two unearned runs over seven innings while recording four strikeouts. Novak picked up his third save, striking out three in his two innings of work.