Munoz Freie Home Runs Not Enough as Blue Thunder Trample MoonDogs 9-8
(Mankato, MN) The Mankato MoonDogs looked to be well on their way towards extending their winning streak to a season best six games going into the top of the eighth inning, but the Brainerd Blue Thunder had other ideas scoring four runs in the eighth and adding two more in the ninth to take a 9-6 with just a half an inning remaining. Wes Freie (Iowa) made the game interesting in the ninth hitting his second home run of the season, a two-run shot, pulling the MoonDogs within one run of the Blue Thunder, but Darryl Stringfield struck out Ryan Rummel (Texas-San Antonio) and retired pinch-hitter Tony Strazzara (San Diego) to close out the game and collect his second save of the season.
Brainerd jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the contest, but the MoonDogs came back with two runs of their own in the first inning as a double Michael Rockett (Texas-San Antonio) and a single by Carlos Ramirez (Chandler-Gilbert CC) put runners on base for Kyle Knudson (Minnesota), who reached on an error, and Freie, who singled to center. Bobby Munoz (St. Leo’s) added a run of his own to the scoreboard in the second inning with his first home run of the season.
Brainerd pulled back even with Mankato knotting the game at three before the MoonDogs added another three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Once again the top of the order produced the offense as Rockett came up with his second double of the game. Cory Harrilchak (Elon) followed this with an RBI single to center, and Ramirez found the gap with his league leading 18th double of the season to drive Harrilchak home making the score 6-3.
This would not be enough as Dale Dickerson (Nicholls St.) struggled with his control issuing three walks and allowing four runs (two earned) on one hit. Dickerson struck out one batter, but even this man reached on a passed ball by catcher Knudson. Zach Calhoon (Texas-San Antonio) came into the contest to try to clean up the mess, but it was too late as Calhoon allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits while walking three and striking out five.
Starter Bryan Longpre (Grossmont JC) went five innings allowing three runs on seven hits and looked to be on course for his fourth win of the season, but it was not in the cards for the California native in this game.
The MoonDogs will host the Rochester Honkers for a doubleheader on Wednesday with the first pitch of the first game scheduled for 6:05pm. The teams will play two seven-inning games.