Massoni, Rockwell Pace Offense in 7-1 Victory Over St. Cloud

The Mankato MoonDogs (35-27/14-12) picked up a key North Division victory in St. Cloud, defeating the Rox (33-29/14-13) 7-1 on a beautiful Wednesday evening at Joe Faber Field.

With the win the MoonDogs now sit just 1.5 games behind the Waterloo Bucks with 10 games remaining in the regular season and are heading into a big two-game series with Duluth before beginning a four-game series with second place Wilmar on Saturday.

Austin Warner was terrific in the spot start for the MoonDogs, improving to 3-2 on the season. The lefty from Bellarmine tossed five innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out three. Garret Ring tossed three shutout innings of relief and Tyler Mark added a scoreless ninth to secure the victory for the MoonDogs over their division foe.

Patrick Massoni led the MoonDogs on offense, collecting four hits while also driving in a run. Tanner Rockwell drove in four runs, including a two-run blast to finish the night 2-4. Derek Umphres and Brent Zimmerman added a hit while Craig Lepre drove in a run.

Seth Heck drove in the only run for the Rox while Chris Paul and Will Craig each collected two hits for St. Cloud in the loss.

Josh Taylor suffered the loss for the Rox, falling to 1-2 on the season. The southpaw allowed four runs, one of which was earned, on six hits while walking two and striking out four. The MoonDogs also picked up one run off of Dalton Sawyer and two more off of Chad Hockin.

Rockwell gave the MoonDogs an early lead with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, plating Massoni who led off the ballgame with a double. Rockwell wasn’t done there as the MoonDogs third baseman crushed a two-run homer in the third and Massoni also drove in a run with a single to give the MoonDogs a 4-1 lead heading into the home half of the third.

Lepre gave the MoonDogs an insurance run with an RBI single down the left field line in the eighth. Rockwell then capped off his big night with an RBI double to left-center in the ninth and later scored when Umphres reached on a Rox fielding error.

The MoonDogs open a two-game home stand against the Duluth Huskies on Thursday evening at 7:05 p.m. Left-hander Dillon Williams (1-2, 2.87/Shelton State) makes his seventh start of the season for the MoonDogs while righty Sean Poppen (0-6, 7.57/Harvard) gets the nod for the Huskies at Franklin Rogers Park.

If you can’t make it out to the park you can listen to the game on AM1230 The Fan Mankato with the radio voice of the MoonDogs Josh Horton with the pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m.

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