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Published On: August 14th, 2014

The Mankato MoonDogs jumped out to a big lead and held off a late rally from the Willmar Stingers to advance to the Summer Collegiate World Series following a 9-5 victory at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar on Wednesday night.

With the victory the MoonDogs will host the Lakeshore Chinooks on Thursday evening at 7:05 p.m. at Franklin Rogers Park in the opening game of the Summer Collegiate World Series.

The MoonDogs picked up the early 1-0 victory, capitalizing on a Stinger fielding error. The MoonDogs then picked up four more runs in the third on RBI’s from Levi Scott, Eric Schenck-Joblinske, Craig Lepre and Patrick Massoni.

Tanner Rockwell then crushed a two-run homer way over the left-centerfield wall in the top of the fourth to make it a 7-0 ballgame.

Willmar picked up three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tighten the MoonDogs lead to just 7-3. However, Mankato struck right back with a run of its own on yet another RBI single by Levi Scott.

The Stingers refused to go away as they picked up two more runs in the bottom of the seventh to narrow the gap to 8-5. Lepre answered for the MoonDogs to extend the lead to 9-5, where it would stay.

Mitchell Traver was outstanding in his 5.2 innings on the bump. The tall right-hander didn’t allow a single hit until the bottom of the sixth inning. He struck out three and didn’t walk any Stingers en route to his second victory of the season. Tyler Mark came on to close the door yet again for the MoonDogs with 1.1 innings of one-hit ball while striking out two.

Kurt Yinger suffered the loss, lasting just three innings for the Stingers and giving up five runs on seven hits.

The MoonDogs quest for their first ever Summer Collegiate World Series title begins Thursday night at 7:05 at The Frank, before heading out for game two and game three (if necessary) at Kapco Park in Mequon, WI.