ALEXANDRIA, MINN. – Despite being in control early on, the Mankato MoonDogs fell victim to a late push by the Alexandria Blue Anchors, as they ultimately fell 10-5 to an Alexandria squad on Monday night, who salvaged a series split at Knute Nelson Memorial Stadium.
Entering the bottom of the eighth inning tied at five, the MoonDogs defense and reliever Bryan Bonnell (UNLV) found themselves in trouble, as Alexandria began plating runs and pulling away with the game. Three hits, two wild pitches and three walks thrown by Bonnell coupled with an infield error and a catcher’s interference call was enough to allow Alexandria to score five runs and open up a 10-5 lead, all before the second out of the inning.
Zach Hobbs (Navarro JC, 0-2) entered the inning and recorded the final two outs in order, but was tagged with the loss.
Prior to the Blue Anchors’ outburst, the MoonDogs were able to erase a 5-3 deficit with a two-run rally in the top of the eighth. After Jonathan Rodriguez (Oklahoma City) reached on a lead-off walk and a Josh Fuentes (Saddleback College) put the two runners in scoring position with a double; RBIs from Quinnton Mack (New Mexico St.) and Woody Woodward (UC Santa Barbara) tied the game for Mankato.
While the game was tight early on with two scoreless innings, Mankato got on the board first in the third inning, building a 2-0 lead on a lead-off home run by Hibraim Cordova (Univ. of the Cumberlands) and an RBI single from Rodriguez. Rodriguez finished batting three-for-four, continuing his hot play prior to the All-Star break.
Mankato extended their lead to three in the fourth before Alexandria made a comeback with runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Alexandria’s win marked the end of an evenly matched regular season series between the two squads. Each team took four of the eight games, with equal 2-2 records at home and on the road. More remarkably, the MoonDogs and Anchors split each individual two-game series, as one side just could not get a big edge over the other.
Mankato now falls to 8-4 in the second half, putting them in a second-place tie with Duluth and three and a half behind Waterloo in the Northwoods League North Division. Overall the MoonDogs sit at 25-22, three and a half games back from Willmar who is in line to receive the second playoff berth if Waterloo holds on to their lead.
Moving forward the MoonDogs will open up a three-game series with the Rochester Honkers, starting in Mankato with a 705 start Tuesday night at Franklin Rogers Park. It is Summer St. Patty’s Day at the Frank sponsored by Printwear Graphics and Hot 96.7.
Great seats are available to all remaining home games, on sale at the MoonDogs office located at 1221 Caledonia Street in Mankato, as well as over the phone at 507-625-7047. To stay up to date, Like the MoonDogs on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter (@MoonDogsBall), or visit the website at www.mankatomoondogs.com.