(Mankato, MN) The first four innings of Saturday night’s game looked very similar to Friday night’s game with very little scoring, but Thunder Bay (21-11, 40-26) was ready to snap their seven inning scoreless streak, and they made the fifth inning a big one bunching four hits and two walks together to score four runs taking a lead they would not relinquish. The MoonDogs (20-12, 40-26) rallied for a run apiece in the sixth and seventh innings, but it would not be enough as Thunder Bay also added runs in the final innings and took the game by a final score of 6-2.
Starter Luke Vine (S. Illinois-Edwardsville) pitched five innings for the MoonDogs allowing only one hit through the first four innings, but struggling to get out of his last inning of work. The right-hander finished his outing allowing four runs on five hits while walking two and striking out seven. In the sixth and seventh innings, the Mankato defense began to get a little sloppy as the team committed three errors in these two innings. Two of these errors were charged to pitchers Vine and Josh Castanza (MSU-Mankato). Castanza allowed two unearned runs on two hits in three innings of work. Jimmy Reyes (Elon) worked a perfect ninth inning striking out two batters.
Offensively, the MoonDogs put runners on base, but the team was unable to break any inning wide open. Cory Harrilchak (Elon) and CJ Belanger (Cal-State Northridge) continued their stellar hitting of late with Harrilchak going 3-for-4 with two singles and a double, and Belanger going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles in the contest. Bobby Munoz (St. Leo’s) and Wes Freie (Iowa) each collected a hit and an RBI on the night.
The MoonDogs will travel to Waterloo on Sunday to begin their final series of the regular season. The team will be watching the scoreboard to find out who they will play in the first round of the playoffs. Any combination of Thunder Bay wins and Alexandria losses adding up to two will clinch a playoff berth for the Border Cats.