(8/10/06) Two games, two cities, two walk-off victories that, technically, were spread over a 10-day span. It was a wild night of baseball in St. Cloud.
The Mankato MoonDogs rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth of Thursday’s first game, the conclusion of a suspended game from August 1 in Mankato, to down the St. Cloud River Bats, 3-2. The River Bats turned the tables in the second game, scheduled to go seven innings but lasted into the eighth, scoring twice in the bottom of the eighth for a 3-2 win of their own.
In the first game, the MoonDogs trailed 1-0 in the fifth inning when the game resumed with St. Cloud having runners at the corners with two outs, as they did when tornado sirens forced the suspension of the game 10 days ago. The River Bats cashed in on the immediate scoring opportunity, as John Caddell’s single off Fabian Gomez – charged to starter Jason Novak – gave the River Bats a 2-0 lead.
It stayed that way into the ninth, when the MoonDogs put two runners on with one out against Eric Thomas. Closer Chad Dawson entered the game looking for his 15th save, but could not stop the MoonDogs rally, which was aided by some poor St. Cloud fielding. Andy Jenkins dropped a fly ball to allow the tying runs to score, and Dawson later overthrew the bag at first to give the MoonDogs a come-from-behind win.
Extra innings was the only fitting conclusion for this crazy day of baseball, as Dan Klous and Trevor Fox engaged in a pitcher’s duel for seven innings. The MoonDogs reached Fox for a run in the eighth, as Michael Parker scored on a hard-hit ball off the bat of Chris Henault that skipped past third and into left field to put the ‘Dogs ahead.
In the bottom of the inning, Mike Loberg drew a walk against Tom Porter and scored on a double by James Leverton. Kyle Baran then singled up the middle, and initially, it appeared as though the MoonDogs dodged a bullet as Leverton was ruled out on a close call at the plate. But the base umpire overruled the call, calling Leverton safe and giving the River Bats a 3-2 win.