By Connor Wachtel
Eau Claire, Wis. – The Mankato MoonDogs dropped game one of the two-game series at The Frank on Monday. The final score was 9-2 as early offense proved to be the difference maker for Eau Claire.
BOX SCORE: Eau Claire 9, Mankato 2
The Express scored first in the first with an explosive three-run inning got them out to an early lead.
In the second they padded their lead with another. A fielder’s choice scored the run and gave the Express a 4-0 lead.
The MoonDogs responded in the bottom half of the second when Tanner Craig (Evansville) launched his 3rd home run of the season to make it 4-1.
The Dogs cut the lead in half in the fourth with Adan Fernandez (FIU) scoring on a wild pitch. The score was 4-2 after four frames.
From then on out, it was all Eau Claire as they went on to score five more runs over three separate innings to notch the 9-2 win.
Craig led the MoonDogs with a 2-4 night at the plate and a solo home run. The home run marked Craig’s 3rd of the season and against the Express this season as he continued to mash the Eau Claire pitching staff.
Earning the win was Eau Claire’s starting right hander Craig Colen (Cal Poly). Colen threw six innings allowing two runs on five hits while walking one and recording six strikeouts. In relief, Nick Herold (Winona) finished off the game’s final three innings and logged a save. Herold surrendered a walk and struck out four.
The loss went to Nick Hull (Grand Canyon) who pitched 4.2 innings and gave up five hits and six runs while walking five and struck out four. Sean Ross (Pensacola), an outfielder, pitched in the ninth to fill a void in the pitching staff. Ross retired all three batters he faced and struck out two.
Due up for the Dogs:
Tomorrow the Mankato MoonDogs (15-20) and Eau Claire Express (18-17) go head to head again at The Frank. First pitch for game two, the series finale, will be delivered by Brett Newberg (Austin Peay) at 6:35 p.m. in Mankato, Minn. at Franklin Rogers Park.
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.