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Published On: August 13th, 2008

(Thunder Bay, Ontario) The Mankato MoonDogs took a 3-1 lead into the ninth inning and looked to be well on their way to tying the Divisional Series up at one game apiece. Unfortunately the MoonDogs’ defense couldn’t help closer Scott Matyas (Minnesota) committing three errors in the final inning of play as Thunder Bay scored three unearned runs to defeat the MoonDogs 4-3 and clinch the North Division Championship.

The MoonDogs took an early lead in the top of the first inning as Michael Rockett (Texas-San Antonio) scored on a Cory Harrilchak (Elon) single to put the visitors ahead 1-0. Mike Lobacz (Elon) added to the lead in the top of the sixth inning with a two-run blast over the right field wall giving Mankato a 3-0 lead.

Starter Jimmy Reyes (Elon) pitched a great game for the MoonDogs going 7 1/3 innings allowing one run on four hits while striking out 11. The left-hander allowed a solo home run that lead off the eighth inning to Ryan Terry, but pitched a flawless game outside of this small misstep. Dale Dickerson (Nicholls St.) came in to finish the eighth innings striking out one batter and Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) threw out a runner at second to end the inning. Matyas came into the game for the save opportunity in the ninth inning and retired the first batter he faced. A walk and an error put runners on first and second base, but Matyas fought back striking out Dean Forthun, but could not retire Ryan Terry who singled home one run for the home team. Connor Lind came to the plate with the tying run on third and hit a bouncer that Bobby Munoz (St. Leo’s) could not handle. The error allowed the game-tying and game-winning runs to score.

Five MoonDogs collected a single hit apiece including Munoz, Harrilchak, Lobacz, Tony Strazzara (San Diego), and CJ Belanger (Cal State-Northridge). The MoonDogs ended the two-game series outhitting the Border Cats 13-11. Mankato also has the lowest team ERA of any of the four playoff teams through two games (2.04).

The Border Cats will face Madison the Championship Series. The first game of the series will take place on Friday in Madison. The Border Cats will host the second and third (if necessary) games of the series in Thunder Bay. Madison defeated Wisconsin on Tuesday by a final score of 14-5 to sweep their three-game series 2-0.