Written by Jacob Toepfer
ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Mankato MoonDogs walloped the Rochester Honkers, 19-3, in a Northwoods League baseball game played at Mayo Field Thursday night.
The MoonDogs got back in the win column to improve to 29-24 and climbed back over .500 in the second half at a 10-9 mark. The Honkers now stand 24-29 with a 9-10 record in the second half.
Sean Ross (Indiana State) sported a three-for-five evening at the plate and led the way with six RBI. Brendan Hord (Evansville) was also three-for-five, he had two RBI in the contest. Kai Roberts (Utah), Ari Armas (San Diego) and Joel Vaske (SEMO) each had home runs in the game.
It was a back-and-forth battle up until the MoonDogs broke the game open in the top of the fourth by piling on six runs. Three consecutive MoonDogs’ batters reached base in the inning before Ross came up and did major damage with a bases-clearing double that broke a tie and put Mankato up 6-3. The MoonDogs scored three more runs later in the inning thanks to a single from Hord and double by Charles McAdoo (San Jose State) for good measure and led the Honkers 9-3 after four frames in Rochester.
From that point on, the MoonDogs didn’t look back. Mankato added a pair of insurance runs in the fifth and seventh to take a 10-run lead, 13-3, before caking on six more runs in the ninth to eventually claim a 19-3 victory. In the ninth, Vaske hit a two-run home run to deep left before Armas launched a no-doubt grand slam to left to ice the game later in the final inning.
Mitchel Casperson (Gustavus) made his second start for the MoonDogs on Thursday night and pitched five strong innings en route to improving to 1-0 with the victory. He was relieved by Taisei Yahiro (Grand Canyon), Noah Meffert (Gustavus) and Michael Gurka (Minnesota).
The MoonDogs return home to play host to the Honkers Friday night at ISG Field for their final matchup of the season. The first pitch is slated for 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.