Mankato Surrenders Late Lead to Fall Victim of Sweep in Eau Claire

Written by Jacob Toepfer

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – After a back-and-forth battle, Mankato lost to Eau Claire, 6-5, in a Northwoods League baseball game played at Carson Park, Thursday night.


With the second consecutive loss, the MoonDogs overall record now stands at 19-17 and 0-2 in the second half, while the Express improved to 21-15 and 2-0 in the second half.


The MoonDogs’ leadoff hitters, John Newman (Santa Barbara) and Boston Merila (MoonDogs), swung the hot sticks during Thursday night’s battle. Both guys sported two-for-five evenings and had a home run to combine for four RBI.


Merila in the top of the third inning hit a no-doubt solo shot to right to get the first run of the day on the board. His first home run of the season made it 1-0 shortly before Simon Sherry (Evansville) doubled later in the inning to score Sean Ross (Indiana State) and make it 2-0. Eau Claire responded in the bottom half with one of their own to cut the deficit in half, 2-1.


The offense picked up again in the fifth frame and saw back-to-back singles by Dustin Crenshaw (Grand Canyon) and Merila station two runners on base leading up to Newman’s first home run of the season, a three-run 372-foot shot to left, which gave the MoonDogs a 5-1 advantage. Again in the bottom half of the inning, the Express scored twice to cut the lead to 5-3 Mankato after five innings of play.


After that Eau Claire’s bullpen stymied MoonDogs hitters, allowing one hit over the course of the final three frames.


After Eau Claire evened the score at five in the bottom of the seventh, they claimed a 6-5 lead in the eighth. After collecting consecutive outs with runners aboard, the MoonDogs signaled to the bullpen for Tyson Neighbors (Kanas State). For the Express in a full count, Max Coupe (Skyline) blooped a single to right, which allowed Eau Claire to score with the lead runner in motion for the go-ahead run.


The MoonDogs’ leadoff hitter in the ninth, Cade Verdusco (Grand Canyon), reached third as the potential tying run in the ninth, but was eventually stranded there to end the game.


Miles Garrett (Vanderbilt) started the game and pitched four and a third of an inning in his second outing of the summer. He allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts along the way.


Hosting the Minnesota Mud Puppies, the MoonDogs return home for a three-game homestand next to try and snap a three-game slide. Donovan Schultz (Evansville) is listed as the MoonDogs’ probable starter for Friday’s 6:35 p.m. contest at ISG 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 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.