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MoonDogs Win Big In Willmar

WILLMAR, MINN. – The Mankato MoonDogs opened up what is arguably their most important three game series of season Friday night against the Willmar Stingers at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Mankato entered the weekend 10-5 in second half of the Northwoods League season, and 28-23 overall, two-and-a-half games behind the Waterloo Bucks in the second half standings.  The MoonDogs also trail the Willmar Stingers by 3.5 games in the season standings for the second best record in the North Division.  If Waterloo wins both the first and second half championships, the team with the second best record in the North Division will advance to the post season.

The MoonDogs have been red hot as of late, winning seven of their last ten games, and picked up a huge win Friday night with a 12-4 dismantling of the Willmar Stingers. 

The Mankato offense scored early and often Friday night, thanks to a big night from second year MoonDogs, Chase Simpson (Wichita State) and John Michael Twichell (UT-Arlington).  The two MoonDog veterans went a combined 4-for-9 at the plate with six RBI and six runs scored.  Twichell posted his third multi home run night this season, hitting a pair of two-run shots in the third and fifth innings.  With the two blasts Friday night, Twichell is now just three shy of trying Shaun Cooper’s career home run record of 21 set back in 2011.

Donovan Feenstra (U of the Cumberlands) improved to 3-2 on season, and picked up his first win as a MoonDog starting pitcher, allowing two runs on three hits over 5.1 innings.  Feenstra gave up a Marc Flores (Hawaii) single in the bottom of the first inning, taking a one-hitter into the sixth inning.  The Canadian born left hander ran out of gas in the sixth, giving up his first run of the day on a Danny Brennan (St. Louis ) RBI sac-fly with the bases loaded.  One batter later the Stingers knocked Feenstra out of the game with a Logan Moon (Central Arkansas) RBI single.

Sam Clay (Georgia Tech) entered the game in relief, and after walking his first batter to load the bases, Clay struck out both Tyler Leffler (Bradley) and Kyle Perry (Monmoth) to end the inning.  Clay worked 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just one hit while striking out four.  Ryan Zehner (Santa Barbra CC), younger brother of current MoonDog Zach Zehner (Cal-Poly) made his debut, working the ninth inning, giving up two runs on one hit while walking three.

The MoonDogs and Stingers continue their three game series Saturday night at Franklin Rogers park for Star Wars Night presented by KXLP, set for a 6:05 p.m. start.

After the set with Willmar and the three-day All-Star break that follows, the MoonDogs and Bucks tangle for a critical three-game series, beginning on July 25.

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.