Late Rally Dooms MoonDogs

(Mankato, MN) – Blue Thunder third baseman Xavier Scruggs hit a three-run homerun in the top of the 9th to break a 2-2 tie and give Brainerd (7-13) the win over the MoonDogs (8-12). The MoonDogs couldn’t sweep the series despite a solid start from newcomer Garett Claypool, who went five innings, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out six.

The MoonDogs struggled to string together the right sequence of hits to break the tie. The MoonDogs were led by newcomer right fielder Jason Christian, who was 1-for-5 batting in the three spot with an RBI. Designated hitter Mike Lobacz and another newcomer first baseman Cody Decker each had a hit, and left fielder Mike Melillo and catcher Jeff DeSmidt each scored once. Center fielder CJ Belanger also drove in a run.

In addition to Claypool’s solid start, reliever Josh Castanza went 1 2/3 innings allowing no runs and two hits, striking out two. Reliever Tom Porter (0-1) took the loss, going 2 1/3 innings allowing three runs on just two hits.

For the night, third baseman Xavier Scruggs was 1-for-5 with one run scored and four batted in. Center fielder Andy Dirks and shortstop Adam Symons each recorded two hits with Dirks scoring twice and Symons driving in the other Blue Thunder run. Right fielder Ryan Royster and second baseman Patrick Rose each scored once for Brainerd.

Brainerd starter Kris Jiggits went six innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on two hits while striking out four. Reliever Tyler Brandon (1-2) threw two scoreless innings to get the win, and closer Bryan Westphal got his second save of the season, throwing a scoreless ninth inning.

The MoonDogs continue their homestand tomorrow night against the St. Cloud River Bats. The game starts at 7:05 pm at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato.