Ramirez Elon Trio Lead MoonDogs Over Beetles

(Mankato, MN) Carlos Ramirez (Chandler-Gilbert CC) has been stuck on nine home runs since just before the all-star break and held a fairly comfortable league lead for quite some time, but Joey Register has slowly crept up on the league leader and actually tied him in last night’s game. Ramirez was ready to hold the lead on his own and broke out of a bit of a slump with a 3-for-3 day at the plate which included a single, double, and a solo home run in the seventh inning. The afternoon game seemed like it would be another pitching duel between Jimmy Reyes (Elon) and Justin Jackson (Sam Houston St.). The last time the two pitchers faced each other, Jackson pitched a one-hit shutout and Reyes also went the distance allowing two runs on two hits. This time Reyes got the last laugh as the MoonDogs (8-5, 28-19) defeated the Beetles (7-8, 21-27) by a final score of 6-2.

The two teams went scoreless through the first four and a half innings as both pitchers allowed only three hits apiece, but the MoonDogs made use of a walk, single, and a hit batsmen to put runners in scoring position for Cory Harrilchak (Elon) who drove in two runs with a single in the bottom of the fifth adding to the 1-0 lead the MoonDogs already held. Leading 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Ramirez led off with a single and Mike Lobacz (Elon) crushed his second home run of the season out to one of the deepest parts of Franklin Rogers Park.

The Beetles came back with two runs of their own off of starter Reyes as Tyler Moyneur (Tennessee Wesleyan) and Denny Duron (Pepperdine) each hit solo shots off of the left-hander. Reyes left the game pitching 6 1/3 innings allowing those two runs on five hits while issuing two walks and striking out three. Zach Calhoon (Texas-San Antonio) recorded the final two outs of the seventh inning before giving way to Dale Dickerson (Nicholls St.) in the eighth.

Before Dickerson got into the game, Ramirez wanted to add an insurance run of his own and crushed his tenth home run of the season well over the left field fence. This home run tied him for the all-time Mankato single season home run record set by Gary Lane in 2000 as a member of the Mankato Mashers. This put the score of the game at 6-2 where it would remain as Dickerson and Scott Matyas (Minnesota) each pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout and a hit batsmen to close out the game for the home team.

St. Cloud travels to Mankato for the final two games the current home stand. The MoonDogs have been at home since just before the All-Star break. St. Cloud started the second half of the season hot going 6-0, but have not won a game since that time losing their last seven and falling to fifth place in the division. The two teams will play a game on Tuesday and Wednesday, with both games scheduled to begin at 7:05pm.