MoonDogs Capture 14-Inning Thriller
(Mankato, MN) The first 8 1/2 innings of the Mankato-Battle Creek went along very quickly, and it seemed as if the unstoppable MoonDog bullpen was ready to close out another victory. The Bombers were not quite ready to give up on their home opener and put together a two-run inning in the bottom of the ninth to tie the score at three. In the 14th inning Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) led off with a double to the gap and a sacrifice bunt by Cass Via (Garden City CC) moved him over to third. Bobby Munoz (St. Leo’s) singled in the next at-bat driving Knudson in and giving Mankato the 4-3 lead. Blake Devries (Concordia-St. Paul) came in to pitch the bottom of the 14th and struck out the side to pick up the victory. This was the fourth time this season a MoonDog pitcher had struck out the side, and the second time Devries accomplished the feat. Mankato moves their record to 5-1 on the season, leading the North Division of the Northwoods League, while Battle Creek drops to 2-5, three games out of first place in the South Division.
Zach Calhoon (Texas-San Antonio) entered the contest in the bottom of the ninth to close the game for the MoonDogs. Calhoon had not appeared in a save opportunity this season for Mankato, but was UTSA’s regular closer during the college season. A walk, hit, and an error accounted for the scoring in the ninth inning for the Bombers meaning there was only one earned run, but Calhoon committed the error throwing the ball into the outfield. Luckily for the visitors, the ball went out of play, and the second run was forced to return to third, but the Bombers would score this run on a two out single. Calhoon would go on to pitch two additional innings of scoreless relief in the contest striking out six through three innings.
Carlos Ramirez (Chandler Gilbert) and Michael Rockett (Texas-San Antonio) each went 3-for-6 for the MoonDogs and Ramirez drove one run in. Wes Freie (Iowa) drove in a pair of runs which elevates his league leading total to nine. Knudson finished with two hits in the game and scored the game-winning run.
The MoonDogs and Bombers will play the second game of a two-game series Thursday night at 6:05 CDT. Patrick Lenton will take the mound for the MoonDogs hoping to build off his solid opening start this season where he went five innings allowing two runs on three hits to pick up the victory.