(Mankato, MN) – The MoonDogs (14-13, 31-30) had opportunities to take down Rochester’s ace for the second consecutive time in a week, but couldn’t come up with the big hit to break the game open as the Honkers (10-16, 28-32) beat the MoonDogs 3-2 Monday night in Rochester. The MoonDogs outhit Rochester nine to five, but couldn’t capitalize, even with another quality start from Chris Bennett (2-1).
The MoonDog offense was paced by outfielder James Keithley and shortstop Sean Nicol, who each recorded two-hit games. Nicol also doubled for the eleventh time this season. Designated hitter Mike Lobacz singled and drove in a run for the MoonDogs, and catcher Ben Geelan and third baseman Nate Hanson each singled and scored for Mankato.
MoonDogs starter Chris Bennett went six innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits in the loss. Relievers Jordan Tiegs and Alan Oaks each threw a shutout inning with Oaks striking out two Honker batters.
Honker third baseman Flores was 2-for-4 and scored once. First baseman Brett Featherston hit a solo home run for Rochester. Center fielder Drew Hoisington and shortstop Shaver Hansen each drove in a run, and second baseman Spaeth scored once.
Honker ace Greg Martin (8-2) threw six innings, giving up seven hits, but just one run to record his eighth win of the season. Reliever Reed Woytek allowed one unearned run in two innings pitched, and Morrison recorded his fourth save of the season after throwing a scoreless ninth inning where he recorded three strikeouts.
The MoonDogs return home tonight for the start of a four-game homestand. They host the North Division leaders, the Duluth Huskies, in a crucial matchup with playoff ramifications. The game starts at 7:05 pm and former Twin Al Newman will be on hand for Minnesota Twins Night at Franklin Rogers Park.