Alexandria, Minn. – A four-run bottom of the eighth inning and four MoonDog errors on the evening helped Alexandria blow open a close game with Mankato, as the Beetles went on to an 8-3 victory Thursday evening at Knute Nelson Memorial Field.
With the MoonDogs (30-17, 7-7) struggling against Alexandria (27-19, 7-5) starter Curtis Hudson (Elgin CC), the Dogs broke through against the Beetle bullpen in the eighth. With KC Serna (Oregon) on second and AJ Pettersen (Minnesota) on third, Jimmy Patterson (Arizona State) tripled to bring both runners in. Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) immediately followed with an RBI groundout to make it a 4-3 game.
The MoonDogs shot themselves in the foot with several defensive miscues in the bottom of the inning. The Beetles loaded the bases after Chase Porch (North Alabama) walked, Marcus Semien (Cal) was hit by a pitch and Mikel Alvarez (FGCU) reached on an error. After Chris Garrison (Oregon) uncorked a wild pitch for the first Beetle run, Tony Strazzara (San Diego) committed an error on a Brendan Alvey (Navarro) chopper that allowed two more runs to score and Keith Castillo (USC) ended the Beetle rally with a sac fly to make provide the final 8-3 margin.
Alvarez and Castillo headlined a 13-hit Beetle attack, as both went 3-4 with two RBI. Alvarez added two runs from his leadoff spot in the order. Patterson was the only MoonDog with multiple hits going 3-4.
Hudson’s (2-0) pitching performance lifted the Beetles, as he went seven shutout innings, striking out two and allowing just five hits. Zach Whitman (Georgia Southwestern) suffered his fourth loss (3-4), lasting four innings and allowing two earned runs on eight hits.
The Beetles jumped out to an early lead in the first, as Alvarez scored on a Whitman wild pitch. The Beetles tacked on run number two in the fourth, as Sean Olenek (Mercer) came around on a Semien single.
Two runs in the sixth put the Beetles up 4-0. Trevor Edwards (UNC Greensboro) doubled home Jayson Langfels (Eastern Kentucky) for the first run and Edwards came around on a throwing error by Kenny Held (New Mexico) after an Alvarez single.
With the MoonDog errors, the Beetles tallied three unearned runs and were also helped by five wild pitches from the Mankato staff.
The two squads will meet again tomorrow at The Knute, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.