MANKATO, MINN.- The Mankato MoonDogs erased an early 3-0 deficit and roared back to take a huge 7-5 win in game one of a critical two-game series with the Duluth Huskies Sunday night at Franklin Rogers Park. The victory pushes the MoonDogs’ winning streak to six games and pulls them even with the Huskies in the North Division overall standings.
Duluth was able to strike first when a two-hit, three-run second inning put them up 3-0 in the early stages of the game. However, Mankato did not wait long to take a bite out of the Huskies’ lead, as a Matt Jones (Southern Illinois) double in the bottom of the second put him in position to eventually cross home off a balk from Huskies’ pitcher Luke Vandermaten (Iowa Central CC), bringing the MoonDogs within two runs of Duluth. Jones finished the game batting two-for-four with a pair of RBIs.
After a fourth inning tally stemming from a Woody Woodward (UC Santa Barbara) RBI single cut the lead to 3-2, John Michael Twichell (UT-Arlington) once again put the MoonDogs on his shoulders when he smashed a two-run home run over the right field fence in the fifth inning, giving the MoonDogs a 4-3 advantage. The shot was Twichell’s 16th of the year and his third in two games, as the first baseman pulled within five homers of Shaun Cooper’s single year record of 21, a day after breaking his career record.
Mankato was able to add three more runs in the sixth inning to stretch their lead to 7-3, thanks to a four-hit outburst which ended Vandermaten’s night on the Huskies’ mound. Hibraim Cordova (Univ. of the Cumberlands) knocked a two-RBI single to account for most of the inning’s offense.
Cordova’s base hit turned out to be the game-winning play as Duluth was able to add a pair of runs in the seventh inning, ending MoonDog starter Ryan Quick’s (Austin Peay St. Univ.) bid in the process. Quick (2-0) picks up the win after throwing six innings, allowing three earned runs off of five hits, striking out five.
When it came time to seal the win in the top of the ninth, closer Jess Amedee (UT-Arlington) was absolutely dominant, striking out the first two batters before turning the side with a routine putout to pick up his league-leading 13th save of the season. The right-hander threw only 13 pitches in the frame, eight coming across as strikes.
The victory was a huge one for the MoonDogs (19-9, 36-27 overall) for a few different reasons. Not only did it bring Mankato to a tie with the Huskies for next best overall record behind Waterloo with seven games to go in the regular season, but it also clinched the season series with Duluth. The MoonDogs, who have taken five of seven so far with the Huskies in 2013, will hold the tiebreaker with Duluth if the teams end up in a deadlock at the end of the season, regardless of what happens on Monday night.
Despite that fact, the MoonDogs have an opportunity to create some separation from the Huskies Monday as they look to sweep the two-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Frank for MoonDogs Hat Giveaway night the first 500 fans will receive a free MoonDogs hat courtesy of Community Bank and Minnesota 93.
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).