MADISON, WIS. – The Mankato MoonDogs fell victim to a big four-run sixth inning by the Madison Mallards that accounted for all their scoring in a 4-3 victory for the Mallards at Warner Park on Sunday night.
MoonDog starting pitcher Cameron Giannini (Southern Mississippi) was able to hold down an early 1-0 lead until the sixth inning when four Mallard runs on four hits sullied his outing, including a two-run home run by Tate Matheny (Missouri State), which got Madison on the board for the first time. Giannini (5-2) takes the loss after giving up only three hits over his first five innings of work, including three different 1-2-3 innings.
Mankato’s bullpen was able to keep Madison from striking again, as Donovan Feenstra (Univ. of the Cumberlands) and Ryan Quick (Austin Peay St. Univ.) combined to pitch the final two and two-third innings only giving up a pair of hits. However the MoonDogs just could not muster up the run support to overcome the Mallards’ lead.
Mankato had multiple opportunities to bring runners home but just could not convert, as they failed to capitalize on eight walks issued by the Mallards pitching staff, only recording four hits on the night. The MoonDogs’ best chance to make a rally came in the eighth inning when a pair of singles, a walk, and a hit batter given up by Madison reliever Danny Sullivan (Davenport) brought home a run and loaded the bases. Despite having the go-ahead run at first, Mankato could not convert any further, stranding three runners on base, bringing their total to 12 for the game.
The MoonDogs struck first in the top of the first inning when Zack Zehner (Cal Poly SLO) reached home all the way from first off a double from John Michael Twichell (UT-Arlington).
The loss was Mankato’s second consecutive, and their third in the last four games, as they now drop to 13-9 and a tie for third place with Duluth in the North Division Second Half standings. St. Cloud now takes sole possession of second place after defeating Wisconsin Rapids on Sunday. However, the MoonDogs and Huskies did not lose any ground to the division leading Waterloo Bucks, as they fell to Lakeshore by a score of 12-4.
The Northwoods League schedule pauses on Monday for their Big League Dreams Showcase, which invites their top young talent to compete in front of Major League scouts. Mankato has seven participants in the event who will be playing in the second of two games from Warner Park in Madison, starting at 7:05 p.m.
The MoonDogs continue their road trip on Tuesday as they play one more in Madison before playing a pair against the Green Bay Bullfrogs. Mankato returns home on Friday as they kick off an eight-game home stand against the Thunder Bay Border Cats.
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.