Photo captured by Dylan Engel (Mankato MoonDogs)
Written by: Jacob Toepfer
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — The Mankato MoonDogs fell in extra innings to the Eau Claire Express, 4-3, in a Northwoods League baseball game played at Carson Park, Monday Night.
The MoonDogs’ second consecutive loss drops their record to 8-6. The Express now stand 9-5 on the season.
The MoonDogs fell into a hole early on, giving up three runs in the fourth inning. They were held in check until a big RBI double by Nick Altermatt (Minesota State – Mankato) shrunk the deficit to 3-2 in the eighth inning. Sean Ross (Indiana State) homered to tie the game later in the eighth inning. After eight innings in Eau Claire, the MoonDogs and Express were tied 3-3.
The MoonDogs had a big chance to even things up in the ninth inning. They had runners on second and third with one out and Justin Descriscio (San Diego) at the plate. He chopped one to short and the Express cut down the runner trying to score. The next batter struck out, which left a pair of runners stranded.
After pitching a scoreless ninth Tyson Neighbors (Kanas State) was tasked to keep the game alive in the bottom of the 10th. In extra innings, the Express walked it off when Tanner Marsh (St. Thomas) laid down a sacrifice bunt that finished with Neighbors attempting to make the heroic play to third to retire the lead runner. Instead, the throw was errant, sailed and the run scored to give Eau Claire a walk-off victory. As a result, Neighbors was handed his first loss of the season.
Nolan Pender (Bellarmine) pitched six strong innings for Mankato on the mound as the starting arm, he gave up three runs,
The MoonDogs will continue their road trip tomorrow in Duluth to open a new two-game series. They are scheduled to take on the Huskies (9-5) at 6:35 p.m. at Wade Stadium. Luke Young (Midland College) is slated to take the mound for the first time this season as the MoonDogs’ starting arm.
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.