Photo Taken by Mansoor Ahmad (Mankato MoonDogs)
By: Connor Wachtel
LA CROSSE, Wis. – The Mankato MoonDogs (5-2) scored four runs to take a one-run lead in the ninth before the La Crosse Loggers (3-4) came back to win the game 10-9 in the bottom half, Sunday at Copeland Park.
Matt Higgins (Bellarmine) was hot again Sunday with a 3-for-5 evening and five RBI and a runs scored. His biggest hit came in the ninth when he doubled to clear the bases before coming around to score on a wild pitch in the next at bat.
The MoonDogs grabbed the game’s first lead in the top of the first when Higgins hit a two-run single. The MoonDogs led 2-1 after one inning in La Crosse. In the second inning, they extended their lead with a pair of RBI singles from Luke Beckstein (Kansas State) and Adrian Torres (Grand Canyon) before the Loggers answered with a pair in the bottom half of the second to shrink the Mankato lead to 5-3.
La Crosse took their first lead with a four-run third inning and carried the 7-5 lead until eighth where they made it 8-5 with another run.
The MoonDogs fought back in the ninth to take the lead 9-8 when Higgins hit a bases-clearing double to left-center before scoring moments later on a wild pitch.
Mankato fell to a 5-2 record in the bottom half of the ninth. La Crosse first tied the game with JT Reed hitting an RBI single to left to tie it at 9-9. Then, Parker Schmidt scored the game-winning run on an errant throw at third in an attempt to get the lead runner on a fielder’s choice which ended up in leftfield. La Crosse scored, as a result, to walk it off 10-9 in the ninth inning.
Hits went the way of the MoonDogs 12-11. Mankato struggled defensively in the game with six errors to the Loggers one.
The win on the mound for the Loggers went to Marius Balandie, who is now 1-1, after surrendering the lead to Mankato in the top half of the ninth.
The loss was assigned to Dalton Mesaris, who is now listed at 1-1 this season, after he allowed the winning run to score in the ninth.
The MoonDogs and Loggers rematch with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch slated for Monday back at Copeland Park.
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.