MANKATO-Minn. The MoonDogs hit their way to a four run fourth inning but came up just shy of a victory Wednesday night as they lost to the Waterloo Bucks 5-4 at Franklin Rogers Park.
The game had the appearance of a pitcher’s duel through the first three innings, but the MoonDogs got it started at the plate in the fourth when first baseman Levi Scott hit a one out single through the left side of the infield. Brett Synek followed with a walk and Derek Umphres singled up the middle to load the bases.
With a 1-1 count, Ridge Smith shot a liner down the right field line and legged out a triple, scoring three and giving the MoonDogs the 3-0 lead. The MoonDogs added another run on a past ball to bring their fourth inning total to four.
Waterloo slowly but surely worked their way back into the game starting with a leadoff solo home run off the bat of Bucks center fielder Will Sparks. Three Waterloo singles in the sixth brought in two more runs and the Bucks took the lead in the seventh when pinch hitter, Jake Riffice reached base on an error and Ryan Nagle followed it up with an RBI double to deep right center field.
The Bucks got solid relief pitching the rest of the way from Aaron Myers and J.D. Moore and the MoonDogs lost their second game in a row at home for the first time this season. Cord Cockrell got tagged with the loss on the mound for Mankato going 6.1 innings and giving up five runs three earned on six hits including a home run. Waterloo relief pitcher Greg Kuhlman picked up the win, throwing two innings and giving up zero earned runs on one hit.
The MoonDogs are now 17-13 in the first half north division standings. They trail the Willmar Stingers by four games for the division lead and the Waterloo Bucks by 2.5 games for second place.
The MoonDogs continue their seven game home stand tomorrow night at Franklin Rogers Park for our Wine, Women, and Baseball night. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to win a half carat diamond just for coming to the game. You can also listen to all MoonDogs home and away games on AM1230 The Fan Mankato with the voice of the team Josh Horton.