Three Knudson Hits Not Enough as Cats Defeat Dogs 6-1

(Mankato, MN) Derek Wiley proved that he was worthy of his all-star selection going 2-for-4 for the visiting Border Cats (6-4, 25-19) with a home run and three runs driven in and for the second consecutive night the MoonDog bats struggled to produce as the North Division leaders dropped their first game since the All-Star break 6-1 to Thunder Bay on Thursday evening. Three Thunder Bay players had two hits apiece and the Thunder Bay out hit Mankato (6-4, 26-18) eight to four as a team.

The one bright spot for the MoonDog offense was Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) who went 3-for-4 with a run driven in. Mike Lobacz (Elon) was the only other Mankato player to have a hit on the evening going 1-for-4 with the lone run scored for the home squad. For the second consecutive night the top three hitters in the lineup failed to generate any offense going a combined 0-for-12 on the night, and 0-for-24 in the two game series.

Starter Ryan Demmin (UW-Oshkosh) put together a solid start for the MoonDogs going 6 1/3 innings allowing only four runs on four hits while striking out five, but the left-hander once again struggled to get run support from his offense. A familiar face for MoonDog fans, Luke Vine (S. Illinois Edwardsville) made his season debut for Mankato going two-thirds of an inning, allowing one hit, and issuing one walk. Dale Dickerson (Nicholls St.) pitched his second consecutive scoreless inning for the home team allowing two hits and striking out one. Zach Calhoon (Texas-San Antonio) came into the game in the ninth and looked like he might have a similar outing to Wednesday night’s when he walked the first two batters he faced on eight pitches, but the right-hander recovered from a lead-off walk and a two-run home run by striking out the next two batters and recording the third out of the inning on a fly ball to left field.

The win for Thunder Bay puts the Border Cats, the MoonDogs, and the St. Cloud River Bats in a three way tie for the lead in the North Division.

The MoonDogs will try to break out of their offensive slump as they travel to Rochester on Friday evening for a home-and-home series with the Honkers on Friday and Saturday. The Honkers have come out of the all-star break with all systems go defeating the North Division leaders going into the break, St. Cloud, 7-3 on Wednesday and 17-6 on Thursday. Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.