Pender Deals in Final Outing, MoonDogs Upend Honkers 6-4 at ISG Field

Photo captured by Mansoor Ahmad/Mankato MoonDogs

By: Connor Wachtel

MANKATO, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs (44-23) snapped a two-game losing streak at home with a 6-4 victory over the Rochester Honkers (29-36), Friday night at ISG Field.  


On their second at-bat of the evening, the MoonDogs grabbed the game’s first lead thanks to Will Hanafan (Nebraska Omaha) hustling out of the box to turn a should-be single to right into a double. After he stole third a few pitches later, Hanafan scored on an RBI groundout to the shortstop hit by Jack Costello (San Diego). Carson Yates (UCLA) singled to left later in the inning to give the MoonDogs a 2-0 lead over the Honkers.


In the second inning, Luke Beckstein (Northeastern) provided a single that scored a pair and doubled up the MoonDogs’ lead to 4-0.


The MoonDogs continued their trend of two runs per inning in the third when Austin Garrett (Kansas State) hit a sacrifice fly to score one before Hanafan singled to left to plate another. After three innings at ISG Field, the MoonDogs led the Honkers 6-0. 


After the Honkers got one run back in the sixth, Ike Mezzenga (North Iowa Area CC) launched a three-run home run out to left to cut the lead to two, 6-4. 


In the ninth inning, Dalton Mesaris (Western Kentucky) entered the game to pitch and locked it down for his second save of the summer. Ultimately, the MoonDogs upended the Honkers for a 6-4 win at ISG Field.  


In the ballgame, the host MoonDogs outhit the Honkers, 11-7. Mankato battled defensive miscues most of the night with four errors while Rochester finished the night with no mishaps defensively. 


Earning the win in his final outing with the MoonDogs was right-handed starting pitcher Nolan Pender (Bellarmine). Pender wrapped up his second campaign with the MoonDogs on a winning note to finish the season sporting an 8-2 record. In his ninth and final start of the season, Pender threw six innings of one-run (unearned) baseball while allowing five hits, two walks and striking out eight along the way. 


The loss went to Rochester’s Shane Martin (Northwest Nazarene) after he went two and two and two-thirds of an inning in Friday’s contest. Martin gave up 10 hits for six runs while working into the third inning. He walked two and struck out two others along the way en route to falling to a 1-3 record in 2021. 


Saturday marks the conclusion of the 2021 Northwoods League regular season. The MoonDogs rematch the Honkers in their finale at ISG Field, which is slated to begin at 6:35 p.m. 



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 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.