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MoonDogs Rout Border Cats in Record-Setting Fashion

MANKATO, MINN. – Saturday night at Franklin Rogers Park began with a milestone for Mankato MoonDogs infielder John Michael Twichell (UT-Arlington), and ended with an offensive display never seen before in Northwoods League history, as the MoonDogs defeated the Thunder Bay Border Cats 27-5.

A two-run home run by Twichell in the third inning not only extended Mankato’s lead to 4-0 but cemented the Dallas, Texas native’s name in the MoonDog history books, as he became the all-time career home run leader with his 22nd in a Mankato uniform.  His thirteen homers this summer along with the nine he hit in 2012 eclipsed 2011 MoonDog Shaun Cooper’s record of 21.

Twichell wasn’t finished yet however, as he added another three RBIs to his stat line with his 23rd career home run in the sixth inning, making Saturday his fifth multi-home run game of the summer. He finished the game batting three-for-five with six RBIs and four runs scored.

The three-run homer by Twichell was just a small part of a monster sixth inning for Mankato, a frame where they plated ten runs on eight hits on a beleaguered Thunder Bay squad.  Add in a four-run fifth inning and a nine-run seventh inning for the MoonDogs and Mankato put up an astounding 23 runs over a three-inning stretch.

The 27 runs scored was not only the most in MoonDogs history but also Northwoods League history.  Mankato racked up 21 hits, nine extra base hits, and four home runs en route to setting the league record.

Perhaps overshadowed in the MoonDogs’ offensive binge was the superb effort given by MoonDogs starting pitcher Zach Hobbs (Navarro JC).  The left-hander threw seven complete innings giving up only three hits and three earned runs, while striking out four in his first starting assignment of the season.  Five of his seven frames were thrown at the minimum, as he was able to consistently force Thunder Bay’s offense into fly outs and ground outs.

Impressive offensive performances could be found throughout the MoonDogs’ lineup.  Zack Zehner (Cal Poly SLO) hit 3-for-6 with three runs scored and six RBI, including a seventh inning grand slam, his fifth home run of the season. 

Chase Simpson (Wichita St.) continued to rack up runs batted in, adding another five on three hits and five runs scored.  The All-Star infielder now has 54 RBIs on the season, which paces him right near the top of the Northwoods League.

Left fielder Tim Arakawa had another big night, batting three-for-five with four runs scored.  The Honolulu, Hawaii native has now safely reached base in 34 straight games.

The victory allowed Mankato (18-9) to earn a season series split with the Border Cats, as each team took four of the eight games played in 2013. Most importantly, the MoonDogs gain a crucial game on the Duluth Huskies in the overall standings, which serve as the tiebreaker in case Waterloo wins the Second Half.  The MoonDogs are now only a game back from the Huskies, who come to Mankato on Sunday to kick off a critical two-game series that could define the North Division playoff picture.

Game one is set for a 605 p.m. start at Franklin Rogers Park, and is also Military Appreciation Night Presented by the Rotary Clubs of St. James, Madelia & Fairmont along with Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committees of Watonwan, Brown & Martin Counties and KXLP.  The MoonDogs will be wearing camouflage uniforms as they honor those in the Armed Forces.

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).