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Published On: July 21st, 2006

(7/18/06) Prior to Tuesday night’s game, Mankato MoonDogs head coach Jason Nell had a few choice words for his team, a "butt chewing," according to starting pitcher Pat Cassa.

After the MoonDogs’ largest margin of victory this season, the speech appeared to have worked.

Michael Parker went 2-for-3 with three runs scored, and Cassa threw seven shutout innings as the MoonDogs posted a 9-0 win over the Brainerd Blue Thunder, their sixth win in the last seven games.

Cassa matched his spectacular outing from July 9, when he beat St. Cloud with seven shutout innings of five-hit ball. But in addition to facing the Brainerd lineup, Cassa was also battling a mound in less-than-ideal condition, after a game had been played at Mills Field earlier in the day.

"It was pretty difficult to throw off of," Cassa said. "I was having problems with my drag foot."

Whatever problems Cassa was having paled in comparison to the problems MoonDogs hitters were creating for the Brainerd pitching staff. For the second straight night, an early four-run outburst gave the ‘Dogs a comfortable lead. With runners at second and third, Brandon Davis’ grounder to second scored Ryan Addison, and Parker followed with a double to extend the lead to 2-0. After Tim Smith walked, Chris Henault’s single scored Parker, and a passed ball plated Smith to give the MoonDogs a 4-0 advantage.

Robert Rodebaugh’s sacrifice fly in the fourth scored Parker with the MoonDogs’ fifth run before another four-run rally in the eighth put the game away. Davis and Henault had run-scoring groundouts, and Shane Buschini delivered the MoonDogs’ first triple of the season to drive in two more runs as the ‘Dogs took a 9-0 lead in support of Cassa, who kept the Blue Thunder off balance all night long.

"It doesn’t matter if you’re 100 games up on second place," Cassa said. "It’s a personal thing. We were motivated, had a gameplan, and executed it."