The Mankato MoonDogs fell behind early and were not quite able to claw their way out of the deep hole against the Rochester Honkers. The first meeting in a two-game series saw the home team fall 11-7 at ISG Field Wednesday night.
The game started out innocuously enough, with both teams’ starters retiring the side in order in the top of the first inning. The second inning was a different story. The Honkers’ first three batters loaded the bases without a hit against Dogs starter Derrick Smith, and then Honkers second baseman Andy Miller unloaded everybody with a grand slam to the power alley in left-center field.
Two innings later, the Honkers added to their lead with four more runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by a bases-clearing double by shortstop Brendan O’Sullivan. With two more runs in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, the game entered the bottom of the fifth with the MoonDogs trailing 10-0.
But to their credit, with the largest 2023 crowd at ISG Field, the Dogs put up a fight. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Asher Bradd gave the team a shot in the arm with a two-run homer to left field.
The sixth inning did not feature a home run, but the MoonDogs added three more runs via small ball, including a balk, a fielder’s choice, and an error. All of a sudden it was a 10-5 Honkers lead.
Kip Fougerousse got in on the action in the seventh inning, notching a sacrifice fly to make it 10-6. But that is where things stayed until the ninth inning. The Honkers added an insurance run in their half of the inning, giving themselves an 11-6 lead, needing three outs to close the door.
The MoonDogs gave the crowd a reason to get excited, putting some runners on base, and getting a run of their own on a Fougerousse single, but there was just not enough time to complete the comeback, as the Honkers prevailed, 11-7.
The loss drops the MoonDogs to 36-29, while the Honkers improve to 32-33. The two teams will square off for the last time this season Thursday night, with the first pitch at 6:35 pm.
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. Now in its’ 30th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 24 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 325 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 2019/2021 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 and on ESPN+. 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 Rockers as your favorite team.