By Connor Wachtel
Mankato, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs pulled off a miraculous comeback win on Wednesday night to overcome the St. Cloud Rox 6-4.
BOX SCORE: Mankato 6, St. Cloud 4
The Rox got on the board first in the third, three runs off of two hits helped St. Cloud to the three-run lead. Following a wild pitch to score their first run, Jordan Barth (Augustana) drove in the second and third runs with a two-run single.
The Rox held onto a 3-0 lead with their starting pitcher, right-hander Ryan Swanson (North Iowa CC), dealing an even six innings of no-hit baseball. Nick Novak got on to notch the MoonDogs first hit of the night, but it wouldn’t go for runs in the seventh.
In the eighth however, it was all MoonDogs from there on out. Mason Crews (Kansas State) led off the inning with a single which was followed up by a hit by pitch during Tanner Craig’s (Evansville) at bat. With two on and no outs, Alex Dorethy (Western Illinois) recorded a pinch hit single to load the bases. Then it was Damon Maynard (Olney Central CC) reaching first on a St. Cloud fielding error which also scored Crews and Ben Rowdon (Gardner-Webb), who was a pinch runner for Craig. After another walk, MoonDogs returner from 2018, Nick Novak, locked in his bid for player of the night with a go ahead two-run double in the right field gap. With the MoonDogs up 4-3 and only one out, Sky-lar Culver put the Dogs up three with a two RBI double of his own. Headed to the ninth the MoonDogs owned a 6-3 lead.
MoonDogs right-hander Hayden Juenger (Missouri State) spotted the Rox a run in the ninth but ultimately earned the save in the 6-4 win.
Man of the night for Mankato was Novak on his first night back with the MoonDogs since the 2018 season. The Dogs shortstop kicked off the night making many outstanding plays in the field and backed it up by going 2-4 with a double to score the game-winning run and then came around to score an insurance run to finish off his impressive night.
Earning the win for Mankato was Shane Barringer (Bellarmine) after he threw an inning of scoreless baseball in the eighth. He notched a strikeout in the process.
Handed the loss was Swanson after going seven innings allowing three hits and four runs (three earned). He held Mankato hitless through six and scoreless through seven frames, he struck out three along the way.
Due up for the Dogs:
The Dogs now get back on the road for the second game of this two-day home and home series with the St. Cloud Rox. Tomorrow’s probable pitcher for Mankato is Jimmy Larson (Minnesota State). First pitch for tomorrow is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud, Minn.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 25-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, 225 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG), World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS) and MLB All-Stars Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the MoonDogs as your favorite team.