By Connor Wachtel
Mankato, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs defeated the Bismarck Larks for their 2nd straight win on Friday night. The game went to extras where the MoonDogs would prevail in a 5-4 final.
BOX SCORE: Mankato 5, Bismarck 4
The Larks got on the board first with an early pair of runs. It came in the first, off the bat of David Mendham (Connors State CC) who hit an RBI single. Following it up two batters later was Jacob Rogers (Brigham Young) scoring on a wild pitch.
In the second frame, the Larks scored another to take a 3-0 lead. Zack Gregory (Arkansas) notched the RBI with a single.
The MoonDogs got on the board in the fourth when Tanner Craig (Evansville) battled to a full count and took a free pass and an RBI with the bases loaded. The Dogs trailed 3-1 after five frames.
After a wild pitch scored one in the fifth for Mankato, the MoonDogs kept it going with three consecutive one-run innings when Craig came through again in the sixth, this time it was a double to score Josh Elvir (Angelo State), to tie the game.
Then it was time for extra innings at The Frank. Bismarck got it started with a first-pitch double to score a Larks runner that was put on second via the new international tie breaker rule. The Larks would only get one as Hayden Juenger (Missouri State) went to work with a dominant rest of the inning.
Then it was the MoonDogs turn in the bottom half of the tenth. Taylor Jackson (Kirkwood CC) got the Dogs going with a one-out double to score the tying run, Mason Crews (Kansas State). With two outs in a tie game with guys on first and second the pinch hitter was Tyler Casagrande (Arizona). After he hit a grounder to the Larks shortstop that resulted in an error, Jackson came around to score the game-winning run and the MoonDogs won in walk off fashion.
The notable offensive performer for the MoonDogs was Craig who went 2-2 with three walks. It was an all-around team effort for Mankato as they recorded at least one hit in each of the 10 innings.
Earning the win was the right-handed Juenger who pitched the final inning and allowed no earned runs and struck out one. The starter, Jack Schneider (Grand Canyon), made his debut Friday night and went four innings allowing three runs on six hits. Schneider also walked one and retired a pair with strikeouts. Jacob Nagel (Bellarmine) came in for relief work in the fifth and threw five scoreless innings. He walked one and struck out two.
For the Larks, Bradley Collins (UMass – Amherst) was handed the loss. He went 2.1 innings allowing no earned runs (two unearned) but instead surrendered four hits. Collins also walked one and struck out five.
Due up for the Dogs:
The Mankato MoonDogs (11-8) and the Bismarck Larks (10-9) go head to head in again in game two of the two-game series tomorrow. First pitch from the Dogs notable starter, Reece Calvert (Western Kentucky), is slated for 6:05 p.m. at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato, 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.