(Mankato, MN) – The MoonDogs (0-2, 17-19) took a lead into the eighth inning, but could not hold it as the Alexandria Beetles (2-0, 20-16) came from behind to take a 4-3 win over Mankato. The MoonDogs had runners on first and third with two outs in the ninth, but Beetles All-Star closer Dallas Cawiezell picked off a sharply hit ball by right fielder Jovan Rodriguez to preserve the win.
The MoonDog bats were led by center fielder CJ Belanger, who was 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI on the evening. Right fielder Jovan Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI as well. Designated hitter Mike Melillo also picked up a hit and scored for the MoonDogs.
MoonDogs starter Danny Keefe had a quality start, going seven innings and giving up just two runs on seven hits while striking out eight. Reliever Josh Castanza (0-2) took the loss, going two-thirds of an inning and giving up two runs on three hits. Tom Porter finished off the game, pitching a hitless 1 1/3 innings.
For the Beetles, center fielder Logan Hoch was 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI single. First baseman Keith Castillo was also 2-for-4 with two RBI. Right fielder Blake Smith was 1-for-2 with two runs scored, and designated hitter Casey Haerther and third baseman Victor Sanchez each singled and scored once.
Beetles starter Matt Drummond went 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs, one earned, on seven hits while recording six strikeouts. Casey Coleman (1-2) struck out three of the four batters he faced to take the win, setting up Cawiezell for his eighth save of the season.
The MoonDogs will now be on the road for a series against the Wisconsin Woodchucks before returning home for the All-Star break, which will be played at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato at 7:05 pm on Wednesday, July 11th. The Northwoods League Home Run Derby will precede the game. Tickets are still available by calling the MoonDogs ticket office.