Written by Connor Wachtel
MANKATO, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs shut down the Minnesota Mud Puppies, 5-0, while dealing out a two-hit performance defensively, Friday night at ISG Field.
With the win, the MoonDogs now grasp a 26-22 overall and are back to .500 in the second-half standings with a 7-7 mark. The Mud Puppies, now 6-19, are 0-8 in the second half with eight straight losses.
Donovan Schultz (Evansville) thrilled in his eighth and final outing for Mankato of the summer. He improved his record to 4-2 after throwing seven and a third scoreless innings with just one hit allowed. He walked one opposing hitter and struck out seven others along the way. It was Schultz’s second one-hit showing of the season.
With the bat, Kai Roberts (Utah) smack the ball around and sported a three-for-four evening with a triple, RBI and two runs scored.
Mankato grabbed the first lead in the second inning of Friday’s contest when Mikey Gottschalk (Minnesota State – Mankato) drew a bases-loaded walk and Angelo Peraza (San Diego) hit a sacrifice fly out to right. Both runs were deemed unearned and gave the MonDogs a 2-0 lead following a miscue defensively earlier in the inning for the Mud Puppies.
The MoonDogs tacked on another run to make it 3-0 in the third inning. After Orlando Salinas (Kansas State) fouled off a pitch the other way down the leftfield line, it was caught deep down the line allowing Roberts to tag up from third base to extend the lead.
Roberts scored again in the fifth frame on a sacrifice fly fit to right by Simon Scherry (Evansville). After five frames in Mankato, the MoonDogs led the Mud Puppies 4-0.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Roberts made his presence felt again with an RBI knock to center that scored Dustin Crenshaw (Grand Canyon) and made it a 5-0 ballgame. The MoonDogs rode the five-run lead until the finish to pick up their second consecutive win.
During Friday’s finale between the two Minnesota-based squads, the MoonDogs outhit the Mud Puppies 6-2. The visiting had the only errors in the ballgame with two.
In relief for the MoonDogs, Taisei Yahiro (Grand Canyon) finished the eighth inning for Schultz before Thomas Bruss (Augustana) entered the game in the ninth to secure the victory.
The MoonDogs open a new series playing host to the Bismarck Larks Saturday night at ISG Field. Mitch Casperson (Gustavus Adolphus College) is slated to make his MoonDogs debut when he delivers the first pitch 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’ 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.