By Connor Wachtel
Bismarck, N.D. – The Mankato MoonDogs swept a doubleheader with the Bismarck Larks on Independence Day Thursday. The final scores were 11-5 in game one and 5-2 in game two. It gave the MoonDogs a quick, two-win start to the season’s second half.
GAME ONE BOX SCORE: Mankato 11, Bismarck 5
It was a very quiet game to kick off Independence Day up until the sixth when the Dogs got on the board first. It was with a pair of runs. One crossed the plate on a wild pitch and the other, Josh Elvir (Angelo State) scored on after being driven in by Dayton Dooney’s (Arizona) RBI single. The score was 2-0 in favor of Mankato after the sixth was complete.
The MoonDogs put up two more for insurance in the seventh which was the final regulation inning for the game. A ground rule double from Elivr and a sacrifice fly to center by Tanner Craig (Evansville) each combined to push the lead to 4-0 over the Larks.
Bismarck, however, wouldn’t go down quietly as they evened the score in the game’s final frame. A wild pitch and a bases-clearing triple from Matt Warkentin (Xavier) evened the score at four.
Mankato didn’t let Bismarck’s valiant comeback phase them. They put up an explosive eighth inning of offense by notching seven more runs to reclaim the lead. Novak got the scoring started, doubling to left field to score Mikey Perez (UCLA) and giving the Dogs a one-run lead. An infield single by Tyler Casagrande (Arizona) scored Novak for the game’s eventual winning run.
The Larks responded with a lone run in the bottom of the eighth, but it wasn’t enough as the MoonDogs took game one by a 11-5 final score in eight innings.
Game One Player Notables:
Elvir kept his successes going with a 2-4 game in the first of two Thursday. He notched a pair of RBI and runs scored and walked once.
Mankato’s starting arm, Trent Baker (Angelo State), was lights out. He pitched 5.1 innings until a rain delay that put an end to his afternoon. He surrendered only three hits, no runs, walked three and struck out one.
For the Larks, Bradley Collins (UMass – Amherst) did the pitching and went five complete innings. He allowed a hit and two runs along with a trio of walks and strikeouts. The loss was given to Evan Miller (Xavier) who surrendered seven runs on six hits in the eighth.
GAME TWO BOX SCORE: Mankato 5, Bismarck 2
Early offense carried over to game two from game one. Adan Fernandez (FIU) drove in the first run with a double to centerfield to score Perez. Then Elvir picked up where he left off with a sac fly to notch another RBI by scoring Fernandez. It totaled an early first-inning pair of runs to give the Dogs a 2-0 lead.
Bismarck cut the lead in half in the second. A single to leftfield by Alex Peterson (Missouri) recorded the first for the Larks and made it 2-1 after two frames.
Mankato responded by padding their lead with another pair in the third. It came from another moonshot home run by Craig, his fourth of the year, that was a two-run round tripper. Mankato held a 4-1 lead after the third inning.
The MoonDogs got more insurance from Fernandez, who decided he wanted to leave the park with a home run of his own in the sixth. It was a solo home run that upped the Dogs lead to 5-1.
The Larks began to mount a comeback again the final frame but could only score one. They fell to Mankato 5-2 in game two.
Game Two Player Notables:
Turning in the notable offensive performance for Mankato in game two was Fernandez. He went 2-3 with two RBI and a solo home run, his first of the season.
Nick Schmidt (Missouri State) pitched as the starter for the Dogs in game two. He went four complete innings and surrendered one run on four hits. He walked four and struck out eight in the no decision. The win went to Conner Campbell (Lander) who finished the game’s final three innings. He allowed one run and three hits, he struck out one along the way.
The loss was handed to Bismarck’s Hunter Kloke (Indiana University – Southeast) after he pitched 5.2 innings and was hit off seven times and allowed each of the MoonDogs five runs.
Due up for the Dogs:
Tomorrow the Mankato MoonDogs (17-21) take on the Bismarck Larks (20-18) for game three of the four-game series. Tyler Lesley (Angelo State) will do the pitching on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark in Bismarck, N.D.
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.