MANKATO — The Mankato MoonDogs were looking to bounce back after a bad 10-2 loss to the Alexandria Beetles on Tuesday but on Wednesday night, at Franklin Rogers Park, a promising start was derailed by one bad inning. The result was a 6-4 loss to the same Beetles in another Northwoods League matchup.
Mankato got on the scoreboard first putting up a 3-spot in the first inning with the assistance of a bit of wildness by Alexandria starting pitcher Mitchell Babb who allowed four first-inning walks.
Chad Christensen knocked in the first run of the frame with a single to right, scoring Chase Fowler who reached on BabbÕs first walk. The next two MoondogsÕ runs came courtesy of bases loaded walks to Trey Nielsen and Craig Massoni.
The Massoni walk ended the outing for Babb as he couldnÕt get out of the first inning, retiring only two batters. Steve Weber came in and got Drew Stankiewicz to ground out to first with the bases loaded, ending the rally.
Starting pitcher Wayland Moore was effective in his third start of the season. He went five innings allowing two runs, giving up six hits, while striking out four and walking four.
Trever Belicek relieved Moore with Mankato leading 3-2 at the top of the sixth and that is where it all unraveled for the MoonDogs. Belicek walked two BeetlesÕ batters before Josh Carpenter singled to load the bases with one out.
A simple grounder by AlexandriaÕs Johnny Tolson to second baseman Nick Ratajczak changed the game. Ratajczak fielded the grounder and tried a glove flip to shortstop Stankiewicz that wasnÕt handled. Jared Musgrove scored on that error to tie the game at 3. Ratajczak picked up the ball and threw wildly home allowing Tanner Vavra to score the go-ahead run. Two errors were given on the play.
An RBI groundout by Ben Moore plated the fifth run of the game for Alexandria and a Belicek wild pitch scored Tolson from third completing the four-run sixth.
ÒThat was a rough inning,Ó said MoonDogs manager Mike Orchard. ÒWe walked a couple guys, a groundball, we sort of flipped it away, sure enough it was a four-run inning. That obviously was the game.Ó
Mankato could not get their bats going against AlexandriaÕs Weber. He pitched 5 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing only three hits while striking out four and walking one.
The loss drops Mankato to 10-5 in the NWL and also drops them to second place as Waterloo was victorious on Wednesday. The MoonDogs welcome St. Cloud to Franklin Rogers Park tonight at 7:05 p.m.