Oh What A Ninth

(7/24/06) Tim Smith’s home run led off a four-run rally in the top of the ninth, and Jason Novak survived a difficult bottom of the ninth as the Mankato MoonDogs posted a wild 7-6 win over the Alexandria Beetles Monday night.

In a back-and-forth affair, the MoonDogs saw a 2-0 lead disappear in the seventh, tied the score in the eighth, then took a seemingly comfortable lead in the ninth only to see the Beetles come within a few feet of sending the game into extra innings.

Leading 7-5 with two outs in the ninth, Novak unleashed a wild pitch to allow one run to score, and when catcher Brandon Davis’ throw home got past Novak, the tying run was waved around third base. But Adam Kampsen, backing up the play, flipped the ball to Novak in time to nail the runner at the plate to end the game.

In addition to his heads-up play defensively, Kampsen also contributed at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI, one of which came when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and the MoonDogs trailing by a run in the eighth. Both of his hits were doubles, bringing his team-leading total to eight for the season.

Smith went 3-for-5 and scored two runs and Chris Henault went 2-for-4 with a run batted in, but the MoonDogs missed several scoring chances, leaving 11 runners on base.

Overshadowed by the exciting finish, Pat Cassa had another solid start for the MoonDogs, taking a shutout through six innings before encountering trouble in the seventh. He allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits while striking out six in seven innings but did not factor into the decision. Tom Porter pitched a perfect eighth to earn his first victory.