(Mankato, MN)–Opening night came in and went out with a bang for the Mankato MoonDogs as the team opened the season with a 6-2 victory over the Rochester Honkers. The night began with a 2-run inning for Rochester and ended with a Fireworks Extravaganza celebrating the beginning of the new season, and a MoonDog victory. First Baseman Wes Freie had a huge night for the MoonDogs going 3-for-4 at the plate with a double and four runs batted in. Catcher Carlos Ramirez also went 2-for-4 at the plate and scored a run for the home team.
The game got off to a rough start for the Mankato squad after starter Bryan Longpre gave up two first inning runs. Longpre hit the first batter, Justin Hilt, who was sacrificed over to second and later scored on an Eric Stephens’ double. Longpre would allow an additional run on a ground out to third before recovering with a pickoff of Honker base runner Stephens.
The MoonDogs would rally to score two runs in the bottom of the second, one coming off a Freie single and one the result of an error, and would build a lead in the sixth on a Freie double that drove in two. Wes provided another RBI in the eighth with another run scoring single. The MoonDog bullpen came in to pitch three scoreless innings for starter Longpre. Zach Calhoon struck out the side in the seventh, while Dale Dickerson and Erik Hamren pitched the eighth and ninth innings to secure the victory.
The attendance for tonight’s game was the second highest for a regular season game in MoonDog history at 2,022. This number ranks only behind last summer’s season opener.