MANKATO-Minn. A Tanner Rockwell home run in the fourth inning helped lead the way to another MoonDogs home victory on Sunday night at Franklin Rogers Park against the Thunder Bay Border Cats.
Rockwell’s home run lined over the left center field fence was his second of the year as Mankato picked up the 3-1 victory in game one of a double header against Thunder Bay. MoonDogs starting pitcher Ethan Greene picked up the win, going four complete innings and allowing one earned run on three hits. Wes Helsebek took the loss for Thunder Bay allowing three earned runs on seven hits including a solo home run.
After allowing a run in the top of the third, the MoonDogs took the lead back in the bottom of the inning on back to back to back singles from Tyler Sullivan, Brett Synek, and Peter Maris. Sullivan advanced to second base when he was caught on a pick-off attempt and was able to use his speed to get to second before the throw from first baseman Sal Taormina.
The MoonDogs picked up their second win of the night in game two, winning convincingly 8-3 against Thunder Bay. Ridge Smith had a massive night at the plate going 3-3 with a single in the first, a triple in the fifth, and a big three run home run to left field in the third.
The MoonDogs were solid at the plate as well as in the field as they did not surrender an error in the game, an issue that has been a problem most of the season. MoonDogs first baseman Levi Scott also had a nice night, going three for three (all singles) with an RBI. Mankato starting pitcher Jake Jenkins got the win going five complete innings and giving up one earned run on four hits while adding five strikeouts. Yuji Suzuki took the loss for Thunder Bay.
With the two wins on Sunday night, the MoonDogs improve their record to 20-14, good for third place in the North Division standings on a day when the Willmar Stingers clinched a first half playoff berth.
Mankato will be back on the diamond tomorrow to play a day night doubleheader against the St. Cloud Rox. Game one is in St. Cloud at Joe Faber Field at 12:05pm. Game two will be in Mankato at Franklin Rogers Park with first pitch at 7:05pm.
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 via the Northwoods League YouTube channel.