(8/3/06) Nate Hanson slugged a go-ahead, two-run home run in the seventh and Ryan Addison drove in three runs as the Mankato MoonDogs rallied to score five times in their final two at-bats to beat the Brainerd Blue Thunder on Thursday night, 7-3.
Hanson’s home run, his third of the season, came with the MoonDogs trailing 3-2 and two outs after Chris Henault led off the seventh with a single to chase Brainerd starter James Sammut, making his first start after 26 relief appearances, from the game. Nick Aurora came on to strike out Addison and got Shane Buschini to ground out before surrendering Hanson’s blast over the left field fence.
The MoonDogs tacked on three more runs in the eighth to break the game open. Ben Geelan and Tim Smith drew walks around a James Keithley single, and Addison hit a single off the fists into right field to score Geelan and Keithley. Catcher Drew McDonald tried to throw out Smith, who was advancing to third on the throw home, but his throw sailed into left field for an error, and Smith scored to put the ‘Dogs ahead by four.
At the midway point of the game, it did not appear the game would end so happily for the MoonDogs. They trailed 3-1 through four and a half innings, and head coach Jason Nell had been ejected after protesting a check swing call. One pitch after the disputed check swing, Steve Salas threw ball four with the bases loaded to walk in a run and give Brainerd the lead.
Salas went 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and four walks, but did not factor into the decision. Fabian Gomez earned his first victory by retiring all five batters he faced, and Jason Novak worked a scoreless ninth to close out the win.
Hanson and Addison delievered the big hits as part of their two-hit nights, and James Keithley went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI to pace the Mankato attack.