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Published On: August 12th, 2014

MANKATO- Minn. The MoonDogs came into the division playoffs on fire winning six of their last seven with a chance to take a 1-0 series lead and they didn’t disappoint the home fans, winning 7-4 at Franklin Rogers Park Monday night. It was a whole team effort and four MoonDog hitters had multi-hit games.

Things didn’t start out well for the home team with Willmar knocking in two runs to take the lead in the top of the first off MoonDogs starting pitcher Joe Hawks. Mankato had no fear playing from behind though and came right back to score three and take the lead in the bottom of the first. Center fielder

Tyler Sullivan led off the bottom of the first with a single to left field and Brett Synek walked to put two on for the MoonDogs. Peter Maris was next and his single to shallow right field made for a play at the plate, where Sullivan slid in head first to get in safely. Third baseman Tanner Rockwell added an RBI on a 5-3 putout and Levi Scott hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Peter Maris from third.

After the Stingers tied the game in the third, the MoonDogs went right back to the offense in the bottom of the inning, scoring Tyler Sullivan on an RBI single by Tanner Rockwell to take the lead 4-3.

Willmar tied it a second time in the top of the seventh when Stingers first baseman Reagan Fowler hit an RBI double to deep center field but as we’ve seen all season, the MoonDogs wouldn’t give up, picking up three crucial runs in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Tyler Sullivan reached on a walk and Brett Synek hit a ground ball up the middle. The Stingers attempted to get the force out at second base but were not in time, giving the MoonDogs runners at first and second with no outs. Peter Maris and Tanner Rockwell both singled to give the MoonDogs a 7-4 lead, a lead they would hold on to for the remainder of the game.

All-star closing pitcher Tyler Mark came in to pitch in the eighth and retired all four batters he faced, earning the save for the MoonDogs. Tanner Rockwell was excellent at the plate and on the mound as he picked up the win for Mankato. Will Lydon took the loss for the Stingers.

The MoonDogs will be back in action for game two of their best two out of three game division series with the Willmar Stingers tomorrow night at Bill Taunton Stadium at 7:05pm. You can listen to the game live on AM1230 The Fan Mankato with the voice of the MoonDogs Josh Horton. The MoonDogs have now reached the playoffs three out of the last four years, losing in the Championship series twice.

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.  For more information, visit