By Connor Wachtel
Rochester, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs scored early and often to route the Rochester Honkers 11-4 on Friday night.
BOX SCORE: Mankato 11, Rochester 4
It was all MoonDogs on Friday night. Cuba Bess (Grand Canyon) got Mankato going almost instantly, smashing his 2nd home run of the summer on the game’s 2nd pitch. It was a leadoff home run the gave the Dogs a 1-0 lead after one in Rochester.
The deficit increased in the third when Mikey Perez (UCLA) drove in Dayton Dooney (Arizona). With the bases loaded, Adan Fernandez (Nova Southeastern) blew the game wide open with a grand slam, his 2nd of the week, to make it 6-0 through three.
The MoonDogs continued to push it offensively in the fourth. Dooney notched his first home run to make it 7-0. After the solo shot, an RBI double and single, the score was 9-0.
Rochester got on the board in the bottom half of the fourth. An error allowed their first run to score. A bases-clearing triple by Henry George (Minnesota – Duluth) scored three more and rounded out a four-run frame for the home team. It was 9-4 through four at Mayo Field.
Fernandez proved he wasn’t done slugging in the top of the sixth. He blasted another home run, his 6th homer, to make it 10-4. Then Sean Ross (Pensacola) got on and stole second. Tanner Craig (Evansville) capitalized, as the 6th guy in the lineup, to cash in on a chance to record an RBI after he drove in Ross to make it 11-4.
Things quieted down through the final three frames and the MoonDogs shut things down to win 11-4 and settle for a series split with the Rochester Honkers.
A whole slew of guys turned in superior performances for the Dogs to kick off the weekend. Bess went 4-5 with an RBI and three runs scored. Fernandez went 2-5 with a grand slam and a solo shot for a total of five RBI. Dooney scored twice during his 2-3 night that saw him hit his first homer.
Earning the win was the MoonDogs starter, Josh Ramirez (Washburn), after he threw seven complete innings. He allowed seven hits for four runs. Ramirez walked two and retired three on strikes. In relief, Eric Newman (Crown College) made his MoonDogs debut. He struck out two and notched a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth and struck out another pair for a one-hit, one-walk finish in the final frame.
The loss was handed to Rochester’s Dwayne Marshall (Maryland – Eastern Shore). He went three innings and worked into the fourth before he was pulled. He was hit off 10 times for nine runs. He walked two and struck out one.
Due up for the Dogs:
Tomorrow the Mankato MoonDogs (30-34) take on the Waterloo Bucks (31-33) in Iowa to begin a two-game, weekend series. Fabian Muniz (Angelo State) is scheduled to do the pitching for Mankato. First pitch at Riverfront Stadium is slated for 6:35 p.m. in Waterloo, Iowa.
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.