Mankato, Minn. – It was a disappointing end to an otherwise successful season, as Rochester capitalized on five MoonDog errors to sweep them out of the playoffs with a 7-0 win at Franklin Rogers Park on a muggy Wednesday night.
Northwoods League strikeout king Zach Robertson (Iowa) baffled the MoonDogs by throwing seven scoreless innings. He allowed no runs on five hits while whiffing 11 MoonDog batters.
Aaron Dunsmore (Dayton) went 3-4 with a run to pace the Honkers while Danny Pulfer (Oregon) posted a 2-4, two RBI evening. Danny Brock (St. Louis) punctuated the win with a solo home run in the fifth, his second in as many games.
After the Honkers grabbed a two-run lead with an RBI double by Aaron Johnson (Illinois) and an RBI single by Pulfer in the third, the wheels started to come off for the MoonDogs in the fourth.
The Dogs committed four of their five errors in the frame as the Honkers set eight men to the plate, scoring three runs. The first five men reached in the inning, as Rance Roundy (UNLV) walked, stole second and scored on a Drew Beurlein (UNLV) single. Beurlein moved up to second on an error and Chris Auten (New Mexico State) came up next, singling to right. Taylor Black (Kentucky) bobbled Auten’s ball in right and Auten moved to second on Black’s errant throw; his second error on the play. The scoring wrapped up two batters later when Auten came around on a Dunsmore fielders choice and error by Nick Judkins (Iowa Central).
Brock’s bomb to left in the fifth and an RBI single by Pulfer in the sixth wrapped up the scoring for the Honkers, who will move on to play La Crosse in the NWL Championship Series.
Six different MoonDogs had singles as Danny Miller (Minnesota State) reached with a hit and a walk. James Wise (Washington State) suffered the loss, giving up four earned runs on six hits in just three innings.
The season series between the Honkers started out with the two squads splitting the first six games. The Honkers, however, took the last four games finishing the season with a 7-3 record against the MoonDogs.
The two teams played six one-run games, two two-run games and saw three contests go into extra innings.
The MoonDogs wrapped up the season with a 39-29 regular season record, their second best in team history and third best overall in the league.
Rochester and La Crosse will open the NWL Championship Series Friday at Mayo Field in Rochester. First pitch is scheduled tentatively for 7:05