(Mankato, MN) – The MoonDogs (1-5, 18-22) looked good early as starter Luke Vine (3-3) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but the Honkers (3-3, 21-19) poured in three home runs and scored eight runs in the final four innings to beat the MoonDogs 8-4 Saturday night in Mankato. Vine went 6 1/3 innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits while striking out six.
The MoonDog offense produced thirteen hits, but only a home run by Jason Christian resulted in extra bases. Third baseman Nate Hanson and shortstop Sean Nicol each recorded three singles in the game. Hanson also scored once. First baseman Mike Lobacz and catcher Jeff DeSmidt each had two singles and an RBI. Right fielder James Keithley also singled and recorded an RBI. Center fielder CJ Belanger and designated hitter Adam Abraham each scored once for the MoonDogs.
After Vine was pulled in the sixth, reliever Josh Castanza closed out the seventh. Castanza would run into his own trouble as the Honker bats started to get hot. In the eighth, he gave up two runs, bringing his totals for the evening to 1 2/3 innings pitched and allowing two runs on three hits. Mark Haderlein threw the ninth inning, giving up three runs on three hits.
The Honker bats went off in the late innings and produced three home runs. Third baseman Raynor Campbell, right fielder Aaron Senne, and designated hitter Brian Spear each homered and drove in two on the evening. Spear also scored twice. Catcher Derek Norris also doubled and drove in a run. Left fielder Joe Southers was 2-for-3 and scored twice for the Honkers.
Rochester starter Craig Fritsch (3-0) gave up nine hits in seven innings, but somehow managed to keep all but two from scoring. He finished with seven strikeouts. Reliever Ryan Kussmaul struggled, giving up two runs on three hits, and was replaced by Tim Scott, who got out of the inning. Scott finished with an inning pitched and no runs allowed. Mike Morrison closed out the game for the Honkers, pitching a hitless ninth inning.
The MoonDog travel to Battle Creek for a two-game series with the Bombers before returning home to face the La Crosse Loggers Tuesday night at Franklin Rogers Park. The game is slated to start at 7:05 pm.