The Mankato MoonDogs dropped a 7-6 heartbreaker in the series opener against the Willmar Stingers on Saturday night at Bill Taunton Stadium.
Brian Pruett led the game off with a home run, highlighting a three-run first inning by the Stingers.
However, the MoonDogs answered getting one run in the second on a Peter Maris RBI ground out and another run scored when Craig Lepre hit a fly ball to center that was dropped. Tanner Rockwell drove in the tying run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the third.
Willmar came roaring back, picking up two more in the bottom of the third and then the MoonDogs answered with two of their own in the top of the fourth on a Patrick Massoni RBI double and a Tyler Sullivan RBI groundout to tie the game at 5-5.
Willmar took the lead for good in the second, despite the MoonDogs picking up one run on a Rockwell RBI single in the top of the seventh.
Matt Geislinger picked up the win with five innings, allowing just one run on one hit while striking out four. Cord Cockrell took the loss for the MoonDogs, allowing seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits over 6.1 innings. Rockwell tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless relief for the MoonDogs.
The MoonDogs and the Stingers continue their four-game series Sunday at 6:05 p.m. at Franklin Rogers Park.