MoonDogs Sink Blue Anchors 3-0 in Season Opener
The Mankato MoonDogs started their season with timely hitting and dominating pitching en route to a 3-0 win over Alexandria at Knute Nelson Park.
The MoonDogs scored a run in each of their first three innings to earn the victory. Tyler Sullivan led off the game with a line drive single to left field. He then stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Spencer O’Neil then brought him home with a RBI single to left field giving Mankato a 1-0 lead early in the game.
Mankato picked up an insurance run in the top half of the second on a rocket line drive home run over the left-centerfield wall off the bat of Ridge Smith. The line drive homer left the yard in a hurry and gave the MoonDogs a 2-0 lead heading into the home half of the second.
The MoonDogs picked up their final run of the game in the in the top half of the third. David Petrino crushed a double and moved over to third on a passed ball. He then scored on a long sacrifice fly to center by O’Neil to extend the Mankato lead to 3-0, where it would stay.
Offensively, Sullivan, O’Neil and Eric Schenck-Joblinske all had a pair of hits for the MoonDogs.
Trevor Lubking was terrific on the mound in the season opener. The southpaw tossed six innings of shutout baseball, allowing just six hits while striking out four en route to his first victory of the year.
The Blue Anchors best opportunity to score came in the home half of the seventh. Cord Cockrell came on to pitch in relief of Lubking and worked a strikeout and a ground out, but then surrendered three straight singles to load the bases with two outs. Assistant coach Ryan Day then came out of the dugout to provide Cockrell with some words of encouragement and Cockrell delivered by striking out Roman Collins to leave the bases loaded and secure a 3-0 lead after seven.
Jacob Westerhouse earned the save with a scoreless ninth. The right-hander allowed a leadoff single, then struck out Ben Allen and got Ryan Busch to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play to end the game and give the MoonDogs a 3-0 victory in the season opener at Alexandria.
The MoonDogs return home to Franklin Rodgers Field on Wednesday night for the home opener against the Blue Anchors. Mankato turns to right-hander Brock Dykxhoorn while the Blue Anchors send Jason Zgardowski to the bump. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and there will be post game fireworks.
The Mankato MoonDogs are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.mankatomoondogs.com.