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Thunder Bay Comeback Earns Split with MoonDogs

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO – Despite controlling most of the game, the Mankato MoonDogs fell victim to a late comeback by the Thunder Bay Border Cats and dropped a 6-4 decision on Friday night at Subway Field, surrendering a split in the Second Half-Opening series.

A strong outing by MoonDogs’ starting pitcher Julian Esquibel (Faulkner University) hit a road bump when a four-run sixth inning from the Border Cats turned a 3-1 MoonDogs lead into a 5-3 deficit.  The ugly inning came to a head in a turbulent at bat against Jason Vosler, where an error by catcher Matt Wollenzin (Austin Peay St. U.) on consecutive pitches brought in two runs before Vosler reached home himself on a solo home run.  Reliever Ryan Quick (Austin Peay) entered the game after Esquibel surrendered one more unearned run later in the inning.  Esquibel (1-3) finished throwing five and two third innings giving up four hits and four earned runs, striking out four.

The MoonDogs once again threatened to come back in the top of the ninth, stringing together three hits to cut the Border Cats’ 6-3 lead to a pair,  but ultimately came up short, coming back from Canada with a split and losing five of their last six.

Mankato forged themselves a 3-0 lead early on with a run in the second and two in the fifth, thanks to consecutive doubles from Chase Simpson (Wichita St.) and Matt Wollenzin.

The MoonDogs return to Mankato for a two-game series against the St. Cloud Rox, which kicks off on Saturday at Franklin Rogers Park.  It is Duck Dynasty Night at the Frank, with free admission for anyone who has a beard longer than a fist. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.  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.