By Connor Wachtel
Mankato, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs settled for a split of a double header with the St. Cloud Rox at The Frank on Monday. The day game went 8-7 to the Dogs while the evening tilt went to the Rox 7-1.
GAME ONE BOX SCORE: Mankato 8, St. Cloud 7
Game one was all MoonDogs early. A single by Adan Fernandez (Nova Southeastern) got it started as it scored Cuba Bess (Grand Canyon). Then, Tanner Craig (Evansville) blasted a homer. The two-run shot made it a 3-0 lead for the Dogs after the first.
After the Rox responded with a run to get on the board, the Dogs blew things wide open in the bottom half. Fernandez came up to the plate and cashed in with the bases loaded by smashing a pitch over the centerfield fence at The Frank. The grand slam gave Mankato a 7-1 lead after the second frame.
Scoring resumed in the fifth when St. Cloud added a pair of runs to their score. Ben Carew (Kent State) drove them in with a two-run home run. In the bottom half, Mankato got a ground rule double from Jake Moberg (UCLA) that plated Fernandez to make it 8-3.
St. Cloud continued their comeback effort in the sixth with a trio of runs. They came from a leadoff home run, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single. The score was 8-6 after six.
The Rox came within one in the seventh when an infield putout scored Hance Smith (California – Berkeley) for St. Cloud. It was the final run scored in game one as the Rox comeback attempt came up just short and the MoonDogs took game one on Monday afternoon, 8-7.
Fernandez got it done, going 3-4 with five RBI and three runs scored. His biggest hit of the day came in the second inning when he launched a ball over the centerfield wall to register to add a slam to his summer resume.
Fabian Muniz (Angelo State) earned the win in his first start for the Dogs of the summer. Muniz threw six complete innings, allowing nine hits for six runs (five earned). He handed out one free pass and struck out five. In relief, Jaxon Passino (Kansas State) pitched the seventh. He was hit off twice for a run. Then, Jack Pilcher (Butler) notched a two-inning save after coming in to begin the eighth. Pilcher ultimately struck out three to shut the door.
The loss went to the Rox starter, Rhyse Dee (Wake Forest). Dee surrendered nine hits for eight runs. He walked a pair while retiring one on a strikeout.
GAME TWO BOX SCORE: St. Cloud 7, Mankato 1
Unlike the first game, scoring began with the road team first. A round tripper off Jack Kelly’s (Minnesota) lumber gave St. Cloud an early 1-0 lead. However, Mankato had a response in the bottom half after Craig slapped a one hopper over the fence. Sean Ross (Pensacola) scored with ease on the ground rule double and it evened the score at 1-1 after two in Mankato.
St. Cloud took the lead back in the third. Carew scored on an RBI single by Gus Steiger (South Dakota State) to give the Rox another one-run advantage.
Scoring continued in the sixth for the Rox. Two runs came from a pair of RBI singles to up the lead to 4-1.
A defensive miscue in the seventh allowed another run to score in the seventh. The score was 5-1 after seven frames at The Frank.
In the ninth, St. Cloud put the icing on the cake with no answer from Mankato as they scored another pair to make it 7-1. The game two win for the Rox resulted in a split of the series between the two clubs.
Player of the night for Mankato was a duo in Ross and Moberg. Ross went 2-4 with the lone run scored. Moberg went 3-3 for a perfect night at the plate for the Dogs.
Earning the win was the Rox starter, Alex Carrillo (Faulkner University), after he pitched a complete-game, one-run performance. Carillo allowed six hits, a walk and struck out 12 MoonDogs batters along the way.
The loss went to Mankato’s Shane Barringer (Bellarmine). Barringer went 5.2 innings allowing eight hits and four runs. He struck out seven St. Cloud batters.
Due up for the Dogs:
Tomorrow the Mankato MoonDogs (28-32) stay in town to play host to the Thunder Bay Border Cats (19-39). The southpaw, Brett Newberg (Austin Peay) will be the starter for Mankato. He will deliver the game’s first pitch at 6:35 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.