MoonDogs Drop Second-Half Opener in Eau Claire

Written by Jacob Toepfer

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – In the first game of the second half of the Northwoods League regular season, the Mankato MoonDogs fell, 4-3, against the Eau Claire Express at Carson Park, Wednesday night.


With the loss, the MoonDogs now stand 19-16 overall with an 0-1 start to the second half. The win improved Eau Claire to 20-15 and 1-0 in the second half.


Sean Ross (Indiana State) picked up right where he left in the first half, going one-for two with a solo home run. He now ranks among the top five of the Northwoods League in batting average (.398), home runs (six) and RBI (33).


The MoonDogs were held in check by the Eau Claire pitching staff, only accumulating four hits on the day as a team.


Down by two runs, 3-1, the MoonDogs tied the game in the sixth when both Boston Merila (Minnesota) and John Newman Jr. (Santa Barbara) walked and came around to score on wild pitches to tie the game, 3-3.


In the bottom of the seventh, the Express took back the lead when Trevor Haskins (Stanford) hit an RBI single to left. He led Eau Claire offensively and finished the day two-for-three with two RBI.


Matt Hellwig (Lewis) pitched the ninth and picked up his fifth of the season while extending a streak of 17 innings pitched without allowing an earned run.


Drew Buhr (Bellarmine) started on the hill for Mankato and threw five and a third of an inning while striking out five with seven hits and three runs against.


The MoonDogs rematch the Express and look to salvage a split of the two-game series 6:35 p.m. Thursday night back at Carson Park. The MoonDogs are scheduled to pitch Miles Garrett (Vanderbilt) while the Express will send out Luke Eldred (Dallas Baptist) for the series finale.



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 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.