(Mankato, MN) Runs have not been easy to come by for the Mankato MoonDogs in recent games, and the team has seen their scoring drop dramatically from the beginning of the season, but somehow the team seems to find ways to win, and they found another way to win on Friday night as a CJ Belanger (Cal-State Northridge) proved to be just enough to push Mankato past St. Cloud 2-1.
Kyle Knudson, (Minnesota) who went 2-for-4 on the evening with a run scored, led off the second inning with a single, and after two batters were retired, Belanger stepped to the plate and drove a ball high into right field. The ball just seemed to keep carrying and ended up over the fence for a two-run home run, Belanger’s second in three games. This would be all of the run support the MoonDogs pitchers would need as starter Luke Vine (Southern Illinois-Edwardsville) went six innings allowing one run on three hits while striking out one.
The bullpen also put together three strong outings as Zach Calhoon (Texas-San Antonio), Dale Dickerson (Nicholls St.), and Scott Matyas (Minnesota) each pitched a scoreless inning of relief to hold onto the 2-1 lead for the visitors. Calhoon pitched a perfect seventh striking out two batters before giving way to Dickerson, who walked one batter and allowed a hit before retiring the side. Matyas came into the game in the ninth looking to pick up his fourth save of the season and did so in impressive fashion allowing a hit, but striking out the side.
The win puts the MoonDogs back in a tie with Thunder Bay at the top of the North Division at 16-9 in the second half of the season and 36-23 overall. The loss drops St. Cloud’s second half record to 14-12, two games back of the North leaders and 32-27 overall. The two teams will square off again on Saturday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05pm.