Vine Stays Strong as MoonDogs Sweep Blue Thunder

(Mankato, MN) – For the second night in a row the MoonDogs (17-17) took a close victory from the Brainerd Blue Thunder (11-23), finishing off the sweep of the series with a 5-4 victory Thursday night in Mankato. The win marks the ninth in the last thirteen games for the MoonDogs, bringing their first half record back to .500. MoonDogs starter Luke Vine (3-1) went eight strong innings, holding the Blue Thunder to three runs, two earned, on six hits while striking out six.

The MoonDog bats were led by first baseman Cody Decker and second baseman Jason Christian, each of which was 3-for-4 on the evening. Decker doubled, scored twice and drove in a run, while Christian doubled, scored once, and also drove in a run. Shortstop Sean Nicol was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Third baseman Nate Hanson doubled and scored once, and left fielder Jaime Armendariz recorded an RBI on a sacrifice fly.

Starter Luke Vine, who has the MoonDogs only complete game of the season, looked as though he may go the distance, but was pulled in the ninth for closer Chad Dawson who recorded his seventh save of the season for the MoonDogs. Dawson gave up one run on one hit and struck out one in the ninth inning.

The Brainerd bats were led by second baseman Ben Orloff, who was 2-for-4 with two runs batted in. Shortstop Adam Symons doubled, scored once and drove in one, and center fielder Andy Dirks tripled to start the game and scored once. Left fielder Patrick Rose and designated hitter Tyler Metcalf each scored for the Blue Thunder.

Starter Andrew Pascoe (0-2) took the loss for Brainerd, going five innings and giving up four runs, three earned, on nine hits. Reliever Alex Guttosch gave up one unearned run in two innings pitched, and center fielder Andy Dirks came in to throw a hitless eighth inning.

The MoonDogs continue their four-game homestand tomorrow night at Franklin Rogers Park. The MoonDogs host the Alexandria Beetles as the second half gets under way. The game is scheduled to start at 7:05 pm in Mankato.