Willmar, MN – For the second time in three days, the Mankato MoonDogs and the Willmar Stingers were forced to play a double header in Northwoods League action. The two teams split a pair of seven inning games on Saturday afternoon with the MoonDogs picking up a 6-4 win in game two at Bill Taunton Stadium.
Game 1: Willmar 2, Mankato 1
The MoonDogs offense got their lone run of the game in the top of the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. Alex Polston (Seminole State) led the inning off with a base hit and later scored on a wild pitch after Josh Fuentes (Saddleback) advanced him to third on a ground out to short.
Willmar took the 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning after Max Dutto worked a one-out walk, and was advanced to third on a Brian Olsen double to right. One batter later, Danny Brennan drove in both runs with a one-out RBI double.
MoonDogs starter Julian Esquibel (Faulkner University) allowed two runs on four hits while striking out four Stingers batters in the complete game loss, dropping his record to 1-2 on the season.
Stingers starter Abe Bobb earned the complete game victory , giving up just one run on six hits over seven innings. Bobb lowered his season ERA to 1.50, while improving to 3-0 in 2013 for Willmar.
Game 2: Mankato 6, Willmar 4
The MoonDogs took another early lead in game two, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning, but starter Ryan Quick (Austin Peay St.) ran into trouble in the bottom of the second. The righty allowing four runs in the inning, while walking three consecutive batters before being replaced by reliever Donovan Feenstra (U. of the Cumberlands). Feenstra walked his first batter on four consecutive pitches, bringing in the fourth Willmar run of the inning, but settled in nicely after that. Feenstra would retired the next eight batters he faced before allowing a one-out Max Kuhn single in the bottom of the fifth. In all, the southpaw reliever gave up just one hit over 4.1 innings, improving to 2-1 on the season.
Jess Amedee (Central Arizona) picked up his fourth save of the season, setting down the Stingers in order in the seventh inning to secure the win.
The Mankato offense went into the top of the fourth inning trailing 4-3, struggling to get any offensive momentum going. Willmar made a two-out pitching change after Timothy Arakawa reached base on a two-out single. Reliever Michael Murray entered the game to face MoonDogs shortstop, Josh Fuentes, who smashed a 2-1 pitch deep over the left-centerfield wall to give Mankato a 5-4 lead. Jonathan Rodriguez (Oklahoma City) matched the Fuentes blast with his first home run of the season in the top of the fifth to give Mankato their 6th and final run of the game.
With the win, Mankato improved to 13-12 on the season, and evened up the series with Willmar at 2-2. The fifth and final game of the series will be played Sunday evening at 605pm at Franklin Rogers Park. Sunday&rsquos game will be Christmas in June Night presented by Minnesota 93, where the Dogs kick off a stretch of eight home games over a ten day period. Season and single game tickets are on sale at the MoonDogs office located at 1221 Caledonia Street in Mankato. For more information visit the website at www.mankatomoondogs.com or call the office a 507-625-7047.