Wild Finish Gives MoonDogs 7-6 Victory over Alexandria

Mankato, Minn. – Sunday’s pivotal division game between Alexandria and Mankato started with a triple play in the first inning, and that was just the beginning of the madness.

In a game with several quirky plays and controversial calls, the MoonDogs found a way to win. Despite having just three hits and trailing by four runs heading into the ninth, the MoonDogs put up a five runs for a 7-6 victory at Franklin Rogers Park.

The MoonDogs magic number for a first half North Division crown was trimmed down to one, as they sit three and one-half games ahead of Rochester with four games to play.

A crazy ninth started with KC Serna (Oregon) and Danny Miller (Minnesota State) singling and walking respectively, before Jimmy Patterson (Central Arizona) brought home the first run with a single. Brenden Webb (Palomar) walked to load the bases, and Tony Strazzara fisted a two-strike pitch from Matt Miller (Michigan) into right for a two-run single and a one-run deficit.

Ryan Durant (Iowa) then bunted Webb and Strazzara into scoring position, as Matt Miller tried to get Webb at third, but threw late, filling the bases with nobody out. Xorge Carillo (Central Arizona) came up with the infield drawn in, and chopped a ball to first. Webb was retired at the plate but caught the leg of Trevor Edwards (UNC Greensboro) as his throw sailed into right, allowing Strazzara and Durant to score with the tying and winning runs, setting off a wild celebration at home plate.

It was the first win for the MoonDogs trailing after eight innings as they have now won six straight at Franklin Rogers Park.

Alexandria nearly doubled the MoonDogs in the hit column, but still left town without a victory. Vance Albitz (UC-San Diego) posted three RBI, Tim Roberson (FGCU) belted a two-run home run and Diego Fon (Arizona) was a perfect 3-3 for the Beetles offense. The only MoonDog with multiple hits was Webb, with two.

Chris Garrison (Oregon) picked up his first win (1-0) for the Dogs, throwing the ninth inning and allowing one run on one hit. Matt Miller pitched the whole catastrophic ninth for the Beetles, falling to 1-1 by allowing five runs, three of which were earned, and walking two.

A night after the league saw its seventh cycle, the MoonDogs turned the second triple the league has seen this summer. With runners on first and second, pitcher Jake Petricka (Indiana State) caught a bunt from Vance Albitz (UC San Diego) in front of home plate. Both runners, confused on whether the ball was caught in the air, both tried to advance, as the MoonDogs turned a relatively easy 1-3-6 triple play.

Heading into the fifth scoreless, two-out hits from Alvarez and Albitz in the fifth accounted for three Beetle runs, while the MoonDogs used errors and wild pitches to score two. After Patterson scored on a throwing error by the shortstop, Strazzara moved all the way around the bases on three wild pitches to the same batter by Tyler Mills (Michigan) to cut the score to 3-2.

Before the big MoonDog rally, Roberson hit his two-run bomb to left in the eighth, and Albitz posted an RBI single in the ninth to put the Beetles up 6-2.

The MoonDogs will head to Eau Claire tomorrow in a clash of two teams needing just one win to clinch a playoff berth. First pitch from Carson Park in Eau Claire will be at 6:35 p.m.