(St.Cloud, MN)—The Mankato MoonDogs (10-16) suffered another defeat Wednesday night to the St. Cloud River Bats (17-11) at Joe Faber Field by a 7-2 final.
St. Cloud has managed to stay hot, courtesy of timely hitting. The game was 4-2 entering the bottom of the eighth inning and the Bats’ line up delivered. Mitch Garver (University of New Mexico) stepped up and hit a two out, two-run double providing the River Bats with a five run cushion before the ninth.
Early on, it was a tale of two starting pitchers as the River Bats received another quality start, this one from Nick Sutherland (3-1, Youngstown State) who went six innings and gave up just two runs while striking out nine. MoonDogs starter Jim Stokes (2-3, Elon) struggled mightily, in just one inning of work he walked three and hit another batter, giving up two runs all while striking out the side. A strong bullpen effort from Joby Lapkowicz (Slippery Rock) kept the MoonDogs in the game through the middle innings as he limited the River Bats to just one run in 4 1/3 innings of work.
Sutherland gave way to J.C. Casey (Missouri State University) who pitched the final three innings while only allowing one hit, picking up his third save of the season. The win was the River Bats fourth in a row and propelled them into first place in the North Division.
After falling behind 3-0, the MoonDogs showed some life offensively when Robby Ort (Indiana St.) hit his first homerun of the year in the fifth inning. The MoonDogs would add another run in the sixth inning but that was all the scoring they could muster.
The Dogs and Bats will battle again Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. in St. Cloud before the MoonDogs return home July 2 for a Fireworks Extravaganza to host the expansion Willmar Stingers at The Frank.