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Published On: April 21st, 2011

MANKATO, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs Baseball Club, a member of the Northwoods League, is proud to announce the return of two players for 2011 season. Pitchers Alex Blackford from Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.) and Blake Schwartz from Minnesota State (Mankato, Minn.) have committed to play for the MoonDogs in 2011.

Blackford, a 5-foot-11-inch, 192-pound sophomore, has a 3-0 record in thirteen appearances for the No. 9 Sun Devils this spring. He has accumulated 36 strikeouts over 39 1/3 innings pitched, holding opponents to a .224 batting average while posting a team-leading 2.52 ERA.

During the 2010 season in Mankato, Blackford went 2-5 while posting a solid 3.33 ERA in 10 games. He threw the third-most innings for the Moondogs (46) and was second on the team in strikeouts (52) while holding batters to a .230 average.

Schwartz, a Rosemount, Minn. Native, will be back for another season, after finishing 2010 as the team leader in wins (6) starts (15), and innings pitched (71). He finished with a 6-3 record, striking out 47 batters.

The 2010 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Pitcher of the Year is off to a great start this spring for the Mavericks. In seven starts, Schwartz is 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA. He has allowed just 12 earned runs, while striking out 42 batters in 49 innings of work.

"We are extremely excited to have Blake and Alex back in Mankato for the 2011 season,” said Field Manager Mike Orchard. "We expect both pitchers to be at the top of our rotation and continue to build on their success in the past year.”

The MoonDogs home opener is scheduled for Wednesday, June 1 at 7:05 p.m. against the Rochester Honkers. Season tickets are now on sale at the MoonDogs office located at 1221 Caledonia Street, with single game tickets going on sale May 7 at 10 a.m. For more information visit our website at or call the MoonDogs office at 507-625-7047.