MoonDogs Dramatic Comeback Ends in Loss

(Mankato, MN) – The MoonDogs (16-15, 33-32) gave all they had left after facing a three-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning against the St. Cloud River Bats (14-15, 35-28) Friday night in Mankato, forcing extra innings after left fielder Jovan Rodriguez scored on an error by the River Bats third baseman and MoonDogs third baseman Nate Hanson blasted a two-run home run, his fifth of the season, with two outs to tie the game. Unfortunately for the MoonDogs, the River Bats showed their own resilience, putting up a run in the top of the tenth inning and shutting down the MoonDogs in the bottom half of the inning to take an 8-7 victory over Mankato.

The MoonDogs were led by Hanson, who was 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, one run scored, and three runs batted in. Shortstop Sean Nicol was also 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a run batted in. Nicol drove in the run on a rare infield triple after all River Bat infielders let the ball drop beside the pitcher’s mound and Nicol hustled all the way around to third base. Center fielder CJ Belanger went 2-for-5 and drove in a run, and first baseman Adam Abraham singled and drove in a run. Rodriguez scored twice for the MoonDogs, and second baseman Jay Bresnahan scored once.

MoonDogs starter Danny Keefe went four innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits. Reliever Ted Farni threw 2 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits, and Jordan Tiegs gave up two runs on one hit in an inning pitched. Alan Oaks threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings to get the MoonDogs to extra innings, but the River Bats found a way to score against Adam Abraham (4-1), putting up one run on two hits.

The River Bats got eleven out of their twelve total hits from the top five batters in the order. Shortstop Adam Yeager was 3-for-4 and scored four times. Left fielder Tim Wheeler was 3-for-5 with a run batted in. Third baseman Brian Hernandez singled twice and drove in three runs, while right fielder Jeff Hulett also recorded two singles and scored once. First baseman Matt Fanelli singled, scored once, and drove in a run. Designated hitter TJ Thompson and pinch runner DJ Belfonte each scored for the River Bats.

St. Cloud starter Joe Campbell went seven innings, giving up four runs on eleven hits before being replaced by Sean Wideberg (4-4), who gave up three unearned runs on two hits in two innings pitched to record the win. Michael Hill recorded his first save of the season after throwing a scoreless tenth inning.

The MoonDogs will finish off the season with a two-game series in Alexandria this weekend. Tomorrow night’s game can be heard at 7:05 pm on the Mankato MoonDogs website.