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MoonDogs Start Strong Hang On for Win over Bullfrogs

GREEN BAY, WIS. – The Mankato MoonDogs were able to build a sizeable lead in the early going during Wednesday night’s interleague matchup with the Green Bay Bullfrogs, a lead that withstood a late Green Bay comeback attempt en route to a 12-6 MoonDog victory at Johannes Stadium in game one of a two-game series.

Mankato wasted no time throwing the first punch on Wednesday, as Timothy Arakawa (Oklahoma St.) led off the game with a triple on Bullfrogs’ starting pitcher Garrett Harrison (St. Cloud State), reaching home on the next at-bat when Matt Jones (Southern Illinois) poked an RBI single to center field, giving the MoonDogs an early 1-0 lead.

The early lead was stretched to six runs in the top of the third when the MoonDogs put up five runs on four hits.  While Woody Woodward (UC Santa Barbara) and Jonathan Rodriguez (Oklahoma City) each notched RBIs in the frame, the Bullfrogs did most of the damage to themselves, as a passed ball and a fielder’s error combined for three unearned runs.

Accompanied by a shut-down performance from starting pitcher Bryan Bonnell (UNLV), the MoonDogs further bolstered their lead with single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to give the MoonDogs a 9-0 cushion entering the bottom of the seventh.  John Michael Twichell hit his Northwoods League leading 13th home run in the sixth inning, finishing the game batting 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Bonnell would eventually be credited for the victory (3-2) after throwing six and a third scoreless innings before Green Bay broke the shutout with a run in the seventh.  The Las Vegas native finished giving up the one earned run with no walks and eight strikeouts over seven innings of work.

However, Bonnell’s victory was not assured of until later, as the Bullfrogs put up a spirited comeback effort in the bottom of the eighth inning, roughing up the MoonDogs’ bullpen for six hits and five runs, cutting their lead to 9-6.

Mankato was able to respond to Green Bay’s late push with a three-run outburst of their own in the top of the ninth, thanks in part to Jones’ second and third RBIs of the game. 

Ryan Quick (Austin Peay St. Univ.) mopped up the Bullfrogs in the bottom of the frame to seal the win as he retired the side in four batters.

The win brought the MoonDogs (15-9) back into a second-place tie with St. Cloud in the North Division Second Half standings, as both teams remain four games back of Waterloo.  In the overall standings, Mankato remains two games back of Duluth and one and a half back of Willmar (both victorious Wednesday) in the race for second-best overall record in the North, a distinction that would provide a playoff berth if Waterloo holds on to win the Second Half.

Mankato looks to keep their winning ways going as they wrap up their two-game set with Green Bay on Thursday night before returning to Mankato on Friday night to begin a two-game series with the Thunder Bay Border Cats.  Friday night kicks off a season-long eight-game home stand at the Frank with the Baseball Card Giveaway Night presented by Sport PiX and Hot 96.7 the first 500 kids through the gate will receive a free pack of 2013 MoonDogs baseball cards. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.

To make sure you dont miss any of the action, get your tickets today by visiting the MoonDogs office at 1221 Caledonia Street in Mankato, or over the phone at 507-625-7047.  For more information and up-to-date news, stats and more visit our website at www.mankatomoondogs.com, Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter (@MoonDogsBall).