THUNDER BAY, Ontario – The Mankato MoonDogs opened up the second half of the 2013 Northwoods League season with a 6-5 win over the Thunder Bay Border Cats Thursday night at Subway Field.
The MoonDogs pitching staff knows they are going to need a much improved second half if they want to make it back to the Northwoods League playoffs in 2013. During the month of June, Mankato’s staff posted a 5.20 team ERA, the sixth-highest team ERA amongst all North Division teams.
Kahana Neal (U of the Cumberlands) took the mound for Mankato on Independence Day looking snap Mankato’s third three-game losing streak this season. The right-hander did not disappoint, posting his best pitching performance of the season. Neal went seven innings without allowing a run while walking just one Border Cats batter, striking out four. The Pearl City, Hawaii native gave up an early two out base hit in the first inning, but would settle in after that, retiring the next twelve batters.
Neal’s only real jam of the night came in the bottom of the seventh inning. After a one-out walk, and a Chase Simpson (Wichita St) error at first base, Neal plunked Thunder Bay’s Phillip Lyons to load the bases. The Dog’s defense came up in the next at bat, turning the inning ending double play to preserve the 5-0 lead.
Reliever Jesse Harbin (Arkansas Little Rock) worked a rocky eighth inning, allowing five runs on four hits, but managed to get out of the inning holding on to a 6-5 MoonDogs lead. Closer Jess Amedee (UT-Arlington) earned his sixth save of the summer working a quick 1-2-3, ninth inning for the Dogs.
Matt Wollenzin (Austin Peay State) got the offense going early, driving in two runs for Mankato in the first inning with a double into right field. Wollenzin finished the day 1-for-5 with two RBI and three strikeouts. Hibraim Cordova (U of the Cumberlands) had one of his better days at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Second year MoonDog, Chase Simpson had another strong day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a run scored.
Mankato goes for the series sweep Friday night in Thunder Bay with first pitched scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT at Subway Field. The Dogs return home to Franklin Rogers Park Saturday, July 6 against the St. Cloud Rox for Duck Dynasty Night. 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.