(Mankato, MN) Cory Harrilchak (Elon) has been one of the more efficient pitchers for the MoonDogs this season in his limited action and he seems to do very well when he is inserted into the batting order as a pitcher as well. Thursday night was no exception as the left-hander pitched eight innings for the MoonDogs allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits while striking out seven. At the plate Harrilchak went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a run driven in. Despite this effort, the MoonDogs still needed some help in the top of ninth inning to defeat the Thunder Bay Border Cats 4-3 closing the gap between the two teams in the standings to one and a half games.
The visitors took a 2-1 lead in the third inning only to see an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth tie the game up at two. In the top of the ninth Harrilchak led off with a single before Michael Rockett (Texas-San Antonio) and Carlos Ramirez (Chandler-Gilbert CC) were retired to bring Mike Lobacz to the plate with two outs. A Lobacz walk put two runners on for Tony Strazzara (San Diego) who hit a high chopper that third baseman Chris Curley rushed and threw away allowing Lobacz and Strazzara to score.
Scott Matyas (Minnesota) came into the game in the bottom of the ninth to save the victory for Harrilchak, but allowed a lead off base hit to Josh Aschenbrunner putting pressure on himself and the MoonDog defense right away. After retiring the next two batters, Tim Palincsar stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter for the Border Cats. The last time Palincsar stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning against the MoonDogs he hit a walk-off grand slam off of Dale Dickerson (Nicholls St.) to defeat the Mankato squad, preventing them from clinching the North Division with a win. This time Palincsar worked a full count from Matyas and eventually coaxed a walk out of the new MoonDogs closer.
A pick-off attempt that went into center field by Ramirez allowed Aschenbrunner to score putting the score at 4-3, but Matyas retired Mike O’Neill to close out the game and pick up his first save of the season.
Brett Krill (UCLA) and Bobby Munoz (St. Leo’s) also had two hit nights for the MoonDogs with Munoz picking up a run scored and an RBI, and Krill scoring a run on the evening. Harrilchak, Krill, and Munoz, were the only MoonDogs to ahve hits on the evening, but the six hits were enough in this game.
The two teams will square off again on Friday night with the first pitched scheduled for 6:05 CDT.