THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO – For the second time in less than 24 hours, the Mankato MoonDogs suffered an extra-innings defeat at the hands of the Thunder Bay Border Cats, losing 6-5 on Tuesday afternoon at Subway Field.
Entering the bottom of the tenth inning leading 5-4; an error, a batter-hit-by-pitch, and a ground-rule double allowed the Border Cats to tie the game, before two walks thrown by reliever Mike Nowak (Shasta CC) loaded the bases and brought home the winning run.
It was a tough outing for the MoonDogs’ bullpen, who struggled to get outs, as Mankato relinquished leads in each of the eighth, ninth, and tenth innings.
Mankato’s late pitching struggles soured a fantastic outing for starter Donovan Feenstra (U of the Cumberlands), who threw six and two-third shutout innings giving up only four hits and striking out eight. His efforts were matched by Border Cats starter Ryan Atwood who made it through four innings without giving up a run, fanning seven MoonDogs in the process.
Mankato finally broke through on Thunder Bay’s middle-reliever Zach Thiac when a Tim Arakawa (Yavapai) base hit and a Chase Simpson (Wichita St.) sacrifice fly gave the MoonDogs a 2-0 lead. The lead was extended to three in the seventh when pinch runner Brandon Jackson scored on an error by the Border Cats’ shortstop.
Thunder Bay roared back in the eighth when a single by game one hero Jason Vosler followed by a Ryan Casillas double tied the game on Mankato pitcher John White (Western Illinois).
What started as a pitchers’ duel turned into a home-run derby in the ninth inning, when Mankato’s Ryan Rosthenhausler (Southern Illinois) cranked a solo shot, only to be matched by a home run from the Border Cats’ Alex Bautista at the bottom of the inning. Rosthenhausler, hitless before Tuesday, went 2-for-4.
The MoonDogs took the lead again with Simpson’s third home run of the season at the top of the tenth before Thunder Bay won the game in the bottom of the frame.
The loss puts a frustrating end to a tough four-game road swing for the MoonDogs- one that saw them play four games in less than 72 hours, emerging with a 1-3 record. Mankato returns home on Wednesday to kick off their second series with the Rochester Honkers, first pitch is at 705 p.m. at Franklin Rogers Park. The ‘Dogs will be celebrating World Series Champion Brandon Crawford and the first 500 fans will receive a commemorative poster presented by Sport PiX and AM 1230 The Fan Mankato.
Season and single game tickets are on sale at the MoonDogs office located at 1221 Caledonia Street. For more information visit our website at mankatomoondogs.com or call the MoonDogs office at 507-625-7047.