By: Connor Wachtel
Mankato, Minn. — It took until the ninth on Friday night, but the winless Mankato MoonDogs got in the win column, in walkoff fashion, beating the Waterloo Bucks 3-2.
Mason Hull was all the talk at Franklin Rogers Park to kick off MoonDogs fans weekends, and it wasn’t for good reason until later in the night. A slow start for Hull saw him struggle with three errors in the first inning. However, Hull swallowed his pride the rest of the night and went 3-5 with the game-winning walkoff double in the ninth. The double scored Zach Kokoska and Max Wright from first and second to give the MoonDogs their first win of the season.
The Bucks capitalized on Hull’s errors in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead without registering a hit. A sacrifice fly from Cameron Thompson did the job to get one across. Then the Bucks loaded the bases after a final miscue, but MoonDogs starter Shane Barringer escaped the jam surrendering just the one unearned run.
The fifth inning provided Bucks insurance when Oraj Anu singled to score Jalen Smith from second. It upped the Bucks lead to 2-0.
After the seventh inning stretch, the MoonDogs offense came to life. Wright singled to left to drive in Emanuel Dean with the bases loaded and bring Mankato within one, 2-1, through seven at Franklin Rogers Park.
A two-out double from Michael Curialle set up a chance for the Dogs to tie the game in the eighth. Unfortunately, Mankato couldn’t get the clutch hit they’d been waiting games for until the ninth.
The clutch at bat Mankato had sought for the first week and a half came in the ninth. Kokoska led off with a single to right to get things going. Then with two outs, Wright walked to make himself the winning run. Hull came to the plate with vengeance and roped a double off the left-center fence. It was good enough to score Wright from first and the MoonDogs walked it off as 3-2 winners.
The MoonDogs swarmed the field after Friday’s walkoff winner, it marked Mankato’s first win of the season. (Photo taken by Mansoor Ahmad)
Thomas Bruss got the MoonDogs first win of the season. He pitched the eighth inning and struck out two, allowing only a hit. In his first game back at Franklin Rogers Park since last season, Barringer, worked five innings as the starter on Friday. He allowed four hits for two runs (one earned) and walked one. The southpaw retired three Bucks batters on strikes as well.
Shane Barringer made his return to Franklin Rogers Park Friday night. (Photo taken by Mansoor Ahmad)
Bucks closer, Christian McGowan, was handed a blown save and loss on Friday night. He came in the game with a one-run save opportunity in the final inning, but only got two outs.
For tonight’s box score click HERE.
The Mankato MoonDogs (1-6) travel to Waterloo, Iowa, tomorrow to try and sweep the Bucks (6-2) in the final game of the series. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. at Riverfront Stadium.
The Mankato MoonDogs are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 26th season, the Northwoods 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, over 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.mankatomoondogs.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the MoonDogs as your favorite team.