MoonDogs Squeak Out Win Over River Bats

(Mankato, MN) – Both teams rallied late, but it was the MoonDogs (9-13) two runs in the bottom of the eighth that held up as they took a 5-4 victory from the River Bats (14-9) Friday night at Franklin Rogers Park. Closer Chad Dawson, who recorded his first save of the season for the MoonDogs, closed out an early pitchers duel that saw solid performances from MoonDogs starter Luke Vine and River Bats starter Michael Hill.

The MoonDogs offense was led by third baseman Nate Hanson and right fielder James Keithley, who each went 2-for-3 with Hanson recording a double and an RBI and Keithley scoring once and driving in one of his own. Catcher Ben Geelan was 1-for-3 and scored twice. Outfielder CJ Belanger also singled and shortstop Sean Nicol and pinch runner Jason Christian each scored once.

MoonDogs starter Luke Vine had another solid outing, going seven innings while giving up just two runs on seven hits. Reliever Josh Castanza entered the game in the eighth and gave up one run on one hit in two-thirds of an inning pitched. Outfielder Adam Abraham (1-0) came in to close out the eighth. Abraham allowed a hit, but catcher Ben Geelan picked off River Bats third baseman Adam Kampsen at first base to end the inning, giving Abraham his first win of the season. Closer Chad Dawson finished off the for the MoonDogs, allowing one run on two hits.

For the River Bats, third baseman Adam Kampsen was 2-for-3 with two RBI. Outfielders Dave Brugamin and Tyler Wheeler each went 2-for-4 and scored once. First baseman Matt Fanelli also had two hits on the night and scored once. Designated hitter Jeff Hulett and catcher Dylan Tonneson each recorded an RBI, and right fielder DJ Belfonte scored once for St. Cloud.

River Bats starter Michael Hill gave an equally impressive performance as MoonDogs starter Luke Vine, going six innings and giving up just two runs on four hits. Reliever Robbie Weinhardt went an inning and a third and gave up two runs, one earned, on two hits. Sean Wideberg (1-2) finished off the game for the River Bats, going two-thirds of an inning and giving up one unearned run.

The MoonDogs continue their homestand tomorrow, starting a series against the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Tomorrow night’s game starts at 7:05 pm at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato.