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Bullpen Lets Game Get Exciting but MoonDogs Hold On For Win

(Mankato, MN) Cass Via (Garden City CC) had one of his best offensive nights of the season without recording a hit on the evening as three runs came from the result of Via reaching on an error. The MoonDogs would need every one of these runs as Scott Matyas (Minnesota) struggled to retire the side in the ninth allowing two runs on a hit and two walks. Matyas would eventually record his fifth save of the season, but he gave the River Bats and their fans hope down the stretch.

Matyas struck out the first two batters he faced, retiring Brian Humphries and the league’s leading hitter, Derek McCallum, in short order but struggled to find the strike zone after this issuing back-to-back walks to put runners on first and second. Preston Hale followed the walks with a two-run double that cut the Mankato lead to one. This would be as far as the rally would come as a groundout to third base ended the game for the River Bats.

Kolby Wood (Michigan) pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball for the MoonDogs allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out two. Josh Castanza (Hillsborough CC) retired the only batter he faced on a strikeout before Zach Calhoon (Texas-San Antonio) entered the game in the eighth inning. Calhoon surrendered one walk to the River Bats, but recorded three outs, including a strikeout to get out of the inning.

Offensively, Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) had another two-hit night going 2-for-4 while Tony Strazzara (San Diego), Wes Freie (Iowa), Michael Rockett (Texas-San Antonio), Bobby Munoz (St. Leo’s) and CJ Belanger (Cal-State Northridge) all joined Knudson in the hit column with one apiece. Munoz led off the game with his eighth double of the season.

The MoonDogs will have an off day on Sunday before traveling to Brainerd for a two-game series on Monday and Tuesday. The game time for Monday’s game is scheduled for 7:05pm. The win keeps MoonDogs in a tie with Thunder Bay atop the North Division standings at 17-9. Mankato moves to 37-23 overall. St. Cloud falls to 14-13 in the second half with the loss and 32-28 on the season.