MANKATO, MINN – For the third straight game, the Mankato MoonDogs posted double digits in the run column on the Franklin Rogers Park scoreboard. On Thursday night, half of them came off the bat of Jonathan Rodriguez (Oklahoma St.) Rodriguez racked up six RBIs, including the game-winner, in a thrilling 12-11 victory over the St. Cloud Rox.
With the game tied at 11 in the bottom of the eighth inning, John Michael Twichell and thought he had propelled his team into the lead with a home run, but it was ultimately ruled foul. Two batters later, with two outs on the board, Rodriguez delivered, hitting a single to left which brought home Zach Zehner (Cal Poly). Rodriguez’s other five RBIs came on a pair of home runs coming in his first two at-bats.
Jess Amedee (Texas-Arlington) picks up the win (1-0) for pitching the final five outs of the game. Amedee by no means coasted through the top of the ninth however, as after retiring the first two Rox batters he loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a single. Despite St. Cloud’s looming threat, Amedee dug deep and struck out Clay Williamson for the final out.
Mankato was able to yet again establish an early lead, plating four runs in the first inning three coming off a Rodriguez home run. The MoonDogs extended their lead to 7-3 after scoring runs in the second and third frames- a lead they held until the sixth inning.
Just as early starts have become a trend for Mankato, a trend that the MoonDogs hope to end soon is letting teams back into games in the later stages. Just as Thunder Bay was able to fight back on Tuesday, St. Cloud staged a comeback by scoring five runs on six hits in the top of the eighth to tie the game. Five of the hits came on reliever Jared Carkuff (Austin Peay St. U) who was then chased in favor of Amedee.
Despite pitching to no decision, MoonDogs starter Brock Dykxhoorn played solid, throwing five innings giving up six hits and two earned runs, while striking out four. Minnesota State University, Mankato product Jason Hoppe takes the loss for St. Cloud after tossing the eighth inning.
The MoonDogs and Rox conclude their two game set on Friday night at 7:05 p.m.. The game will end with a fireworks extravaganza presented by Pioneer Bank and Kasasa. 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.