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Published On: July 23rd, 2008

(Mankato, MN) The Mankato MoonDogs (8-7, 28-21) have been one of the best fielding teams in the league committing the third fewest in the Northwoods League entering Wednesday night’s game, but four errors, including two in the second inning were costly for the MoonDogs as the River Bats (8-8, 26-23) scored six unearned runs on the evening and defeated the Mankato squad 9-3.

MoonDog starter Travis Smith (Michigan) could not catch a break pitching 4 2/3 innings for the home team allowing eight runs. Only three of these runs were earned runs with one coming in the second inning and two coming in the fifth. Smith also walked three batters and struck out three. Wes Freie (Iowa) provided a solid relief effort for the MoonDogs pitching 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief allowing only two hits and striking out two batters. Jimmy Dale (MSU-Mankato) came in to pitch the ninth inning and was also hurt by sloppy fielding as he allowed one unearned run on two hits. Dale allowed two River Bat hits, issued one walk, and struck out two batters.

The River Bats jumped on the MoonDogs early scoring five runs in the second inning to take a 5-0 lead. This was a hole that the MoonDogs could not seem to climb themselves out of. Back-to-back-to back walks by Tony Strazzara (San Diego), Ryan Rummel (Texas-San Antonio), and Brett Krill (UCLA) in the third inning looked to give the MoonDogs a legitimate scoring opportunity, but three fly balls to right field ended the threat with Mankato only gaining two runs back. A leadoff double by Carlos Ramirez (Chandler-Gilbert CC) also put a runner in scoring position in the fourth, but only resulted in the home team gaining one more run back leaving the score at 6-3 at the end of the fourth. This would be as close as the MoonDogs would come the rest of the night.

Ramirez and Strazzara each led the MoonDogs with two hits apiece on the evening. Rummel, Strazzara, and Ramirez came across to score the only runs of the evening for the home team while Bobby Munoz (St. Leo’s) and Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) each drove in runs with sacrifice flies.

The MoonDogs now travel to Thunder Bay to take on the current North Division leaders. Thunder Bay will be coming off a two game sweep of the Rochester Honkers and look to hold on to their two and a half game lead of the MoonDogs. After the Thunder Bay series, the MoonDogs will travel to Duluth for their final series of the season against the Huskies. Mankato will return to Franklin Rogers Park on Monday, July 28th, when the Brainerd Blue Thunder come to town.