MoonDogs Walk-Off Rox to Keep Undefeated Streak Alive
By: Connor Wachtel
MANKATO, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs (4-0) walked off the St. Cloud Rox (0-2) in the ninth for a 2-1 win at ISG Field to complete their second series sweep of the summer, Thursday.
James Shimashita (San Jose State) was the MoonDogs’ hero with a bases-loaded single to right-center that walked it off in the ninth and crowned the MoonDogs victorious while moving them to an unblemished 4-0 record this season. Thursday’s win also moved the MoonDogs closer to reaching their best start since the 2016 season, where they started the campaign 5-0.
WALK-OFF WINNERS, WE'RE 4-0 BABY!!!
— Mankato MoonDogs (@MoonDogsBall) June 4, 2021
After Matthew Higgins (Bellarmine) doubled to the rightfield corner, he moved to third on a wild pitch before scoring on an RBI groundout hit by Spencer Nivens (Missouri State) which gave the MoonDogs a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning.
The Rox tied the game 1-1 in the top of the eighth before Shimashita called game with his walk-off hit in the ninth.
Although the MoonDogs dropped the hits battle 9-5, they found a way to come out on top 2-1. The Rox finished with the game’s only error.
On the mound for the Dogs was starting arm right-hander Blake Reilly (Grand Canyon) making his second start of the season. Reilly finished with a no-decision despite never surrendering a run in five innings of work. He allowed three hits and struck out seven along the way. The win went to Cleveland, Minn., native Bryce Novak (Gustavus) who pitched the ninth inning allowing a walk and striking out one en route to a 1-0 record.
The starting arm for the Rox was Bryce Robison who threw five frames of one-run ball for St. Cloud. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out seven. The loss went to Andrew Morones, who fell to 0-1 as a result, after he loaded the bases which led up to Shimashita’s walk-off hit.
Up next, the Mankato MoonDogs are headed to Wisconsin to take on the Eau Claire Express, Friday at 7:05 p.m., to start a two-game road series.
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’ 27th 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.