MoonDogs Drop First Game of Weekend Series to Express
By Connor Wachtel
Eau Claire, Wis. –The Mankato MoonDogs played the Eau Claire Express at Carson Park on Saturday evening. The final score went 7-6 in favor of the Express after the MoonDogs mounted several rallies but ultimately came up short.
BOX SCORE: Eau Claire 7, Mankato 6
Eau Claire tallied the game’s first run when Cole Cabrera (Cal Poly) scored on an error after stealing third.
Mankato answered back in the next half inning with a sacrifice fly. Garrett Gilbert (Creighton) notched the RBI to even the score 1-1.
In the fourth, the Express jumped out to a 5-1 lead with a sacrifice fly and then a bases-clearing triple from Brock Burton (Grand Canyon).
In the next frame, the Dogs led off the inning with a trio of hits. Josh Elvir (Angelo State) drove in the first run of the fifth for Mankato, scoring Cuba Bess (Grand Canyon) on an RBI double. After a pitching change with no outs, Eau Claire managed to work their way out of the jam stranding two men in scoring position.
In the bottom half, Express catcher David LaManna (Notre Dame) went deep. It was a solo shot that extended the deficit back to four with a 6-2 score at Carson Park.
The Dogs came within one in the seventh. Adan Fernandez (Nova Southeastern) doubled to score a pair. Then Sean Ross (Pensacola) drove him in with an RBI single. The MoonDogs trailed 6-5 after the top half. However, the deficit increased by the end of the inning after a single by Vincent Martinez (Stanford) added to the one-run lead to make it 7-5.
In the eighth, a double from Nick Novak (Angelo State) scored Jake Moberg but that’s all the Dogs could drive in and eventually fell by a final score of 7-6 to the Express.
Fernandez swung the hot stick to begin the weekend. He went 2-3 with a pair of RBI and runs scored.
Eau Claire’s starter, Tanner Kohlhepp (Tennessee), pitched a no decision after he went only four complete innings and had the lead he defended interrupted in the later innings. He was hit off seven times for two runs. He walked two and struck out five. In relief, Kuster Kinlecheenie (Montevallo) earned the win. He surrendered four runs on four hits in his three innings pitched. He also walked and struck out one. Then Alec Baker (Dallas Baptist) shut the door out of the pen to notch a save. He pitched the eighth and ninth. He walked two and struck out five.
For the Dogs, Dalton Grose (UM – Crookston) did the starting pitching for the first time as a part of Mankato’s club. He pitched five complete and was handed the loss. He allowed six runs (five earned) on four hits. He walked six and retired three guys on strikes. From there on out, Shane Barringer (Bellarmine), Thomas Bruss (Augustana) and Jack Pilcher (Butler) each threw an inning in relief. Together, they combined to allow one hit, run and a strike out while handing out three free passes.
Due up for the Dogs:
Tomorrow the Mankato MoonDogs (27-30) take on the Eau Claire Express (32-25) again for game two of the weekend series. Josh Ramirez (Washburn) is the MoonDogs probable guy to do the pitching. The game is slated for a 2:05 p.m. start at Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wis.
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.