Back and Forth Friday Frenzy Ends with Another MoonDogs Walk Off
Mankato, Minn. - The Mankato MoonDogs and Rochester Honkers played through six lead changes Friday night. The last was a big one for the home team, it saw the Dogs winners in the ninth, 6-5.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Zach Gilles provided the game-winning hit to left center that scored Max Wright. The 6-5 win upped the MoonDogs team-high winning streak to four in a row and a 7-12 overall record.
Gilles (Right) celebrates with Evan Berkey (Left) after being doused in the game-winning Gatorade shower. (Image captured by Mansoor Ahmad)
However, the Honkers made their way into the score column first to start the weekend series in Mankato. Batting second, Robert Moore, drew a walk and later put the Honkers up 1-0 in the first after stealing second and later scoring on a Connor Denning RBI double.
UCLA teammates, Emanuel Dean and Michael Curialle, each had RBI singles in the bottom of the fourth that gave the MoonDogs their first lead of the night, 2-1.
An RBI double and a sacrifice fly restored the Honkers one-run lead, 3-2, in the sixth inning.
An infield groundout was good enough to score Jake Thompson, for his second run of the night, Friday night. Maddux Houghton had the dribbler that scored the tying run. Two batters later, Zach Kokoska helped the MoonDogs reclaim the lead with a base knock to right that scored Dean and made it a 4-3 game through six innings at Franklin Rogers Park.
The back and forth battle continued into the seventh when the Honkers tied the game again off another RBI hit by Denning. It was in the form of a single that made it a 4-4 game and queued stretching time at The Frank.
The Honkers took the lead back in the eighth. Robert Moore had the hit to put the visitors in front, scoring Jacob Shaver from second on a liner up the middle.
After a walk-off win in their last home showing, Mankato found a way to win it again in the ninth. A bases-loaded walk was drawn by Kokoska to tie the game and made room for Gilles's Friday night heroics.
Both sides showed efficient hitting to kick off the weekend. Eight hits were put up by each team respectively with perfect fielding in the form of zero errors for both sides.
Andre Granillo registered his first win with the MoonDogs in his first appearance. He came in for the eighth and worked through the ninth, surrendering two hits and a run in his debut. He also walked a pair and struck out five. Jared Milch started Friday's ballgame on the bump for the MoonDogs. The southpaw went five complete in his third start of the summer allowing two hits and a run. Milch walked three and doubled it up with six down on strikes.
For the Honkers, the loss and blown save went to T. Palmer Mickelson after he came in to pitch the ninth. Mickelson walked a pair and gave up a hit.
Tomorrow, the MoonDogs (7-12) are heading east on Hwy. 14 to Mayo Field in Rochester, Minn., to take on the Honkers (4-11) in game two of the weekend series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
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Northwoods League Stories from July 24, 2020
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