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MoonDogs Win Another One-Run Game Defeat Cats 2-1

(Mankato, MN) The Mankato MoonDogs (10-7, 30-21) were 3-2 in one-run games before their series against the Thunder Bay Border Cats (11-7, 30-22) on Thursday and Friday. A 4-3 win on Thursday and a 2-1 victory on Friday improved the team’s one-run record to 5-2 and cut Thunder Bay’s lead in the current North Division standings to half a game.

Starter Ryan Demmin (UW-Oshkosh) picked up his first win since his first start of the season against the Madison Mallards pitching six innings and allowing one run on five hits while striking out three. Demmin left the game with a 2-1 lead, and the bullpen held onto that lead for the left-hander. Zach Calhoon (Texas-San Antonio) and Dale Dickerson (Nicholls St.) each pitched a scoreless inning of relief with Calhoon pitching the seventh, and Dickerson pitching the eighth striking out one batter and walking one. Scott Matyas (Minnesota) came into the game in the ninth to record his second save of the series, but struggled to retire batters walking two and striking out one before being relieved by Brendan Lafferty (UCLA). For the second consecutive night Tim Palincsar pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, and this time Lafferty struck him out leaving runners on first and second with two out. The Border Cats pinch-hit Alex Kubal for the league’s leader in doubles, Mike O’Neill, who had gone 0-for-4 in the game, but Lafferty wasted little time in striking out Kubal as well picking up his first save of the season.

The MoonDogs scored their runs in the fifth and sixth innings of the game after trailing 1-0 early in the contest. Mike Lobacz (Elon) was hit by a pitch to leadoff the fifth before back-to-back singles by Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) and Tony Strazzara (San Diego) loaded the bases for Brett Krill (UCLA) with no outs on the board. Krill grounded into a double play, but Lobacz scored from third tying the game up at one.

The sixth inning also began with a lead-off runner as Bobby Munoz (St. Leo’s) led off with a single. Cory Harrilchak (Elon) advanced Munoz to second with a groundout, and Michael Rockett (Texas-San Antonio) looked like he would advance Munoz to third with a high chopper to the pitcher, but an errant through allowed Rockett to reach base and scored Munoz from third. With Rockett on second base and Carlos Ramirez (Chandler-Gilbert CC) up to bat, the game got interesting. Rockett was running on the pitch to Ramirez with two strikes, and Ramirez struck out swinging. The throw down to third got away from the third baseman and it looked like the MoonDogs would take a 3-1 lead, but the umpires ruled that field manager Jason Nell (Iowa Lakes CC) had interfered on the play and Rockett was sent back to third. Nell argued with the call, but to no avail as the umpire ejected the manager from the game.

Munoz led the team offensively going 2-for-4 in the contest. He also scored the game-winning run. Knudson, Rockett, and Strazzara picked up the only other hits of the game for the visitors, who have found a way in recent games to score runs without collecting a lot of hits.

The MoonDogs will now travel to Duluth for a two-game series with the Huskies on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.