(Mankato, MN) One Inning. One inning is all it takes to change a game and both the Honkers and the MoonDogs found this out tonight. The Honkers started the game with three runs in the top of the first and a run apiece in the second and the fourth to take a 5-0 lead into the fifth. The MoonDogs had not done too much with the bats up to this point, but early in the inning Rochester starter Zach Robertson began to struggle with his control, walking the bases loaded, before Wes Freie (Iowa) came up with a huge double that just snuck inside the left field foul line. From here the Mankato bats began to heat up as Mike Lobacz (Elon), Michael Rockett (Texas-San Antonio), Matt Prokopowicz (Hofstra), Cory Harrilchak (Elon), and Carlos Ramirez (Chandler-Gilbert) all strung together hits and the MoonDogs lit up the Honker pitchers for nine runs. This would be all the MoonDogs would need as they defeated the Honkers 9-7.
Josh Castanza (Hillsborough CC) came into the game in the top of the fifth inning after starter Travis Smith (Michigan) had struggled through the first four innings allowing five runs on seven hits. Castanza got out of the fifth to become the pitcher of record as the home team scored nine, but struggled early in the sixth and was credited with giving up two runs. Dale Dickerson (Nicholls St.) came into the game in the sixth and struggled with his control walking four in his two innings of work, but pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three. Harrilchak made the transition from outfield to the pitching mound in the eighth inning and recorded four strikeouts in the final two innings to pick up his first save of the season.
The MoonDogs move to 17-7 on the season with the win and increase their lead in the division to three and a half games over the Honkers. The loss drops Rochester to 13-10. The MoonDogs have their second off day of the season on Monday before beginning a stretch of eleven road games in fifteen days. The MoonDogs will travel to Eau Claire on Tuesday for a two-game series and will next play at Franklin Rogers Park on Thursday, June 26, as the St. Cloud River Bats make their second appearance of the season. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm.