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Back and Forth Friday Frenzy Ends with Another MoonDogs Walk Off

By: Connor Wachtel

Mankato, Minn. — The Mankato MoonDogs and Rochester Honkers played through six lead changes Friday night. The last was a big one for the home team, it saw the Dogs winners in the ninth, 6-5.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Zach Gilles provided the game-winning hit to left center that scored Max Wright. The 6-5 win upped the MoonDogs team-high winning streak to four in a row and a 7-12 overall record.

 

Gilles (Right) celebrates with Evan Berkey (Left) after being doused in the game-winning Gatorade shower. (Image captured by Mansoor Ahmad)

 

However, the Honkers made their way into the score column first to start the weekend series in Mankato. Batting second, Robert Moore, drew a walk and later put the Honkers up 1-0 in the first after stealing second and later scoring on a Connor Denning RBI double.

UCLA teammates, Emanuel Dean and Michael Curialle, each had RBI singles in the bottom of the fourth that gave the MoonDogs their first lead of the night, 2-1.

An RBI double and a sacrifice fly restored the Honkers one-run lead, 3-2, in the sixth inning.

An infield groundout was good enough to score Jake Thompson, for his second run of the night, Friday night. Maddux Houghton had the dribbler that scored the tying run. Two batters later, Zach Kokoska helped the MoonDogs reclaim the lead with a base knock to right that scored Dean and made it a 4-3 game through six innings at Franklin Rogers Park.

The back and forth battle continued into the seventh when the Honkers tied the game again off another RBI hit by Denning. It was in the form of a single that made it a 4-4 game and queued stretching time at The Frank.

The Honkers took the lead back in the eighth. Robert Moore had the hit to put the visitors in front, scoring Jacob Shaver from second on a liner up the middle.

After a walk-off win in their last home showing, Mankato found a way to win it again in the ninth. A bases-loaded walk was drawn by Kokoska to tie the game and made room for Gilles’s Friday night heroics.

Both sides showed efficient hitting to kick off the weekend. Eight hits were put up by each team respectively with perfect fielding in the form of zero errors for both sides.

 

 

Andre Granillo registered his first win with the MoonDogs in his first appearance. He came in for the eighth and worked through the ninth, surrendering two hits and a run in his debut. He also walked a pair and struck out five. Jared Milch started Friday’s ballgame on the bump for the MoonDogs. The southpaw went five complete in his third start of the summer allowing two hits and a run. Milch walked three and doubled it up with six down on strikes.

For the Honkers, the loss and blown save went to T. Palmer Mickelson after he came in to pitch the ninth. Mickelson walked a pair and gave up a hit.

For tonight’s box score click HERE.

Tomorrow, the MoonDogs (7-12) are heading east on Hwy. 14 to Mayo Field in Rochester, Minn., to take on the Honkers (4-11) in game two of the weekend series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

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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.