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MoonDogs' Offense Erupts in Win over Honkers

August 3, 2019 - Northwoods League (Northwoods) - Rochester Honkers News Release

Rochester, MN -  Sometimes it's just not your day and unfortunately that was the case for Honkers' starting pitcher Dwayne Marshall (Maryland-Eastern Shore) as he gave up nine runs which propelled the Mankato MoonDogs to an 11-4 win.

Despite the great crowd of 1,606 fans, the MoonDogs struck first when Cuba Bess hit a lead-off home run on the second pitch that Marshall offered.

Mankato threatened to score more runs in the first inning after Mikey Perez hit a single and a Josh Elvir drew a walk. However, Rochester's defense turned a 4-6-3 double play and Honkers' third baseman Ryan Ober (Oregon State) made a great stop and throw to first to limit the damage to just one run.

Marshall and Mankato's starting pitcher Josh Ramirez each retired all three batters they faced in the second inning.

Unfortunately, the MoonDogs' offense jumped all over Marshall in the top of the third inning. After a Dayton Dooney single and Bess double, Perez hit an RBI single to give Mankato a 2-0 lead.

But the MoonDogs' weren't done yet. After Elvir was hit by a pitch, Adan Fernandez crushed a grand slam over the left-center field wall.

Trailing 6-0, the Flock got their first runner into scoring position when Zack Zalesky (Oregon State) hit a single and Austin Schell (Golden West College) followed with a single of his own. Ramirez rallied to retire the next three batters to keep Rochester scoreless.

Dooney wasn't going to let the MoonDog's offense rest on its laurels as he led-off the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run. Now up 7-0, Perez kept Mankato's momentum going when he hit an RBI double and center fielder Sean Ross followed with an RBI single to give them a 9-0 lead.

The Honkers' offense finally got some runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth. It began when Ober drew a walk and A.J. Miller (Oregon) singled.

Zalesky loaded the bases by reaching first base on an error. Schell then hit a high pop-fly just a couple feet in front of home plate, but MoonDogs' catcher couldn't haul it in so Ober was able to score on the error.

The Flock's number nine hitter, Henry George (Minnesota-Duluth), then hit a clutch three-run triple to bring Rochester within five runs, 9-4.

Mankato tacked on a couple insurance runs in the sixth inning when Fernandez hit his second home run of the night, a solo shot, and Tanner Craig laced an RBI single into the outfield.

Jeremiah Van De Steeg (Rochester Community & Technical College) came in to pitch the seventh inning and he allowed a single to Bess, but his defense turned a double play to end the inning.

Rochester got singles from Kyler McMahan (Oregon State) and Andy Armstrong (Oregon State) in the bottom of the seventh, but Ramirez ended his night strongly by retiring the next three batters to keep the Flock at four runs.

Micah Wallette (Golden West College) pitched the eighth inning for the Flock and he struck out two batters on his way to a 1-2-3 inning.

Unfortunately, MoonDogs' reliever Eric Newman accomplished the same feat in the bottom of the eighth.

Ben Strassman (Rochester Community & Technical College) pitched a scoreless ninth inning which was highlighted by a diving catch by third baseman Ober.

The Flock got singles from Schell and George in the bottom of the ninth, but Newman retired the next three batters to end the game.

The 11-4 loss drops the Honkers' second half record to 16-13 and their overall record is now 34-30.

George was named the Profile Sanford Player of the Game after recording all three of Rochester's RBI on the three-run triple.

The Honkers travel to St. Cloud to take on the first-place Rox on Saturday, August 3, at 6:05 p.m. The two-game series concludes on Sunday, August 4, at 4:05 p.m.

Season tickets and new all-you-can-eat ticket packages are available for purchase right now at www.RochesterHonkers.com or by calling the Honkers front office at 507-289-1170.

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