Rochester, Minn- A little more than 12 hours after shutting out the Rochester Honkers at home, the MoonDogs hit the road for a Sunday afternoon matinee in Rochester. Despite leading through out much of the afternoon, today it was the ‘Dogs who found themselves on the losing end of a 7-6 slugfest at Mayo Field.
With the MoonDogs trailing 2-1 in the fourth inning, catcher Dan Sheppard (Iowa) came to the plate with two outs and a man on base. Sheppard blasted a 2-1 fastball over the left field wall, giving Mankato a 3-2 lead. The MoonDogs would add additional runs in the fifth, eighth, and ninth innings to grab, what appeared to be a comfortable 6-2 lead.
For the first time this season, the otherwise reliable MoonDogs bullpen struggled to preserve the 4 run lead. Matt Marsh (College of Central Florida) came into the game in the eighth inning recording two outs but left after just 2/3 of an inning, issuing three walks to load the bases. Closer Patrick Goelz (Oklahoma City U) entered the game in the bases loaded situation, striking out Reid Love (St. Johns River State), leaving the bases loaded.
Back on the hill in the ninth, Goelz struggled to record outs. The right hander gave up three hits, and plunked one more before striking out Michael Benjamin (Arizona State) for the first out of the inning. With one run already in, and the bases loaded, Goelz was charged with a balk, allowing the second run of the inning to score. Still holding a 6-4 lead, Goelz rebounded and struck out Jared Allen for the second out.
Down to the final strike of the afternoon, Honkers catcher Reid Roper (Illinois) turned on a 2-2 fastball, sending a three-run walk off homer over the right field wall.
The loss snaps Mankato’s five game winning streak, and gives Goelz his first blown save of the season (3/4 in save opportunities this year).
MoonDog starter Davis Henderson (Oklahoma City U) earned a no-decision in his first start, going 6 strong innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out six Honkers batters.
Despite the loss, Mankato remains the top team in the Northwoods League, sitting at 9-3 overall this season.
The ‘Dogs return home Monday night, starting a five game home stand at Franklin Rogers Park. Monday night’s game against the Alexandria Beetles will be St. Peter Night along with Minute to Win It Night presented by Hot 96.7. Fans will have the opportunity to win prizes throughout the night by competing in various contests throughout the night. Season and single game tickets can be purchased at the MoonDogs office located at 1221 Caledonia Street. For more information visit our website at www.mankatomoondogs.com or call the MoonDogs office at 507-625-7047.