Bucks Comeback Falls Short in Loss to MoonDogs

MANKATO, Minn. – After the sixth inning the MoonDogs, celebrating the Fourth of July early, thought they would skate by with an easy win leading by seven. The Bucks, however, didn’t make it so easy.

The Mankato MoonDogs (18-14) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with an unearned run off starter Dylan Warda, but the Waterloo Bucks (7-23) bounced back with a leadoff triple by Colin Kasperbauer, driven in by a Ryan Grabosch sacrifice fly.

But the MoonDogs weren’t done scoring just yet, they scored three in the second and one in the fourth to jump out to an early 5-1 lead. Even when the Bucks plated one in the top of the fifth, the Dogs bounced back with three more in the bottom of the fifth with another in the sixth to open up what seemed to be a nearly insurmountable 9-2 lead through two-thirds of the ballgame.

However, the back third belonged to the Bucks. Jalen Martinez laced his first extra-base hit of the season into left to score one in the seventh.

In the eighth, Ryan Guardino hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season to left field to make it a 9-5 ballgame.

On the mound, Dylan Gotto in his first relief appearance of the season, and Andrew Guardino in his Bucks debut shut down Mankato in the late innings.

Heading into the ninth, Mankato looked to Luke Young, one of its most reliable relievers. But a dropped third strike that got to the backstop allowed Grabosch to reach. The next batter, Shaydon Kubo launched a ball over the Mankato Monster in left to bring it within two with no outs in the ninth.

Mason Dobie then walked to bring the tying run to the plate. However, Young would strike out the next three batters he faced to win the ballgame 9-7.

It was a valiant effort for the Bucks who scored five unanswered. However, they now look to return home to Riverfront Stadium for a four-game homestand to end the first half of the season.

The Bucks now face the Minnesota Mud Puppies for the first time this season at 6:35 p.m. on Friday night to open a two-game series. You can still purchase tickets for Friday night’s game at or by calling the Bucks ticket line. If you can’t make it out to the ballpark, you can stream the game for free on Watch NWL.