(Mankato, MN) – In front of a record-breaking crowd of 2,134 at Opening Night in Mankato, catcher Ben Geelan’s timely hitting, solid relief pitching from Matt Mossey, and a wild inning by the Honkers resulted in a 3-2 MoonDogs victory over the defending Northwoods League champions. Geelan, the only player with a multi-hit game, drove in two runs in the second inning to give the MoonDogs a lead while Mossey threw 5 shutout innings in relief. In the fourth, the Honkers committed an error and saw a wild pitch result in outfielder Jovan Rodriguez scoring the game-winning run.
The scoring action started in the bottom of the second. After a lead off walk to first baseman Evan Porter, Honkers starter Zach Robertson (0-1) got outfielder CJ Belanger to pop out to third base. Following the first out, Robertson walked Rodriguez and proceeded to hit designated hitter Danny Keefe. With the bases loaded Geelan slapped a single to left field, scoring both Porter and Rodriguez.
The Honkers answered immediately in the top of the third. After MoonDogs starter Josh Castanza walked Honkers left fielder Craig Lukes and Lukes advance to second on an error by the catcher, center fielder Drew Hoisington singled to left field putting runner’s on first and third. Shortstop Mike Gaski drove in Lukes when the MoonDogs couldn’t quite get Gaski at first to complete the double play. After second baseman Bryan Spear reached on an error by the shortstop and outfielder Jareck West was hit by a pitch, Honker first baseman Brett Featherston sent a deep fly in foul territory to right field. MoonDogs outfielder CJ Belanger caught the fly out, which resulted in Gaski scoring from third. The drama didn’t end there though as Spear was gunned down at the plate by the MoonDogs rally.
The wild bottom of the fourth saw Jovan Rodriguez reach base on a single to right. After Keefe reach on an error by the third baseman, things got a little out of control for the Honkers. After a fly out to right field by Geelan saw Rodriguez advance to third, a wild pitch by Robertson led to Rodriguez crossing home with the game-winning run.
For the MoonDogs, starter Josh Castanza went 4 innings, allowing two runs on two hits. Geelan went 2-for-4 driving in two runs and Rodriguez scored twice. For the Honkers, Robertson went five innings allowing three runs on two hits.
The MoonDogs are now on the road for four days. They will be traveling to Thunder Bay for games on June 2nd and 3rd, followed by a trip to Duluth. The MoonDogs will be back in town on Wednesday, June 6th to host the Waterloo Bucks. The first 1000 fans at Wednesday night’s game will receive a free 2007 Magnet Schedule.