Photo captured by Dylan Engel
Written by: Connor Wachtel
MANKATO, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs defeated the Rochester Honkers, 6-3, in a Northwoods League baseball game played at ISG Field, Wednesday night.
Getting back into the win column, the MoonDogs improved to 6-3 on the season while handing the Honkers, now 3-6, their sixth loss of the summer.
Sean Ross (Indiana State) led the way offensively for the MoonDogs in Wednesday’s contest, going three-for-five on the evening with a run scored and three RBI.
The MoonDogs opened the scoring in Wednesday’s contest thanks to a bases-loaded RBI double off the bat of Davis Crane (Bellarmine) that hugged the rightfield line to score a pair. In the next at bat, Adam Juran (Western Illinois) drove in a third run when he grounded out to short with one out, allowing Brendan Hord (Evansville) to score in his MoonDog debut. After two innings in the Key City, the MoonDogs held a 3-0 lead over the Honkers.
After the Honkers scored one run to cut the deficit to two in the top of the third inning, the MoonDogs suddenly found themselves with a pair of runners in scoring position and Ross at the plate in the bottom half of the inning. In a display of clutch hitting, Ross laced a double just inside the leftfield line to score both runs with one out. With three innings by the wayside, Mankato found itself leading Rochester 5-1.
The seventh saw the Honkers climb to within two runs of the MoonDogs after Joe Longo (Michigan) walked in a run moments before a second run scored on a wild pitch. With seven innings down and two to go, the MoonDogs carried a 5-3 lead.
Mankato plated one more run in the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to a single to center by Ross that scored Orlando Salinas (Kansas State) from third. It gave the MoonDogs a 6-3 lead. That’s where it ultimately stood after Tyson Neighbors (Kansas State) pitched the ninth inning and slammed the door with a 1-2-3 inning which earned him his second save of the summer.
Starting on the mound for the MoonDogs, Nick Altermatt (Minnesota State – Mankato) pitched 4.1 innings of one-run baseball with three hits against, a walk and five strikeouts en route to a non-decisive outing. Earning the win was John Lundgren (North Alabama) in relief to improve to 2-0. He pitched 1.1 innings of shutout baseball with no hits or walks allowed and one strikeout.
Following a rough start that lasted three innings, Lance Santerre (San Francisco) was handed the loss to fall to 0-2 on the summer. Santerre surrendered six hits and five runs while walking one and striking out five along the way in his second start of the season.
The MoonDogs and Honkers wrap up the home-and-home series Thursday night in Rochester, Minn. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at Mayo Field.
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’ 28th 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 280 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 (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist 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 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. League games are viewable live at watchnwl.com. 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.