By Joe Tischler Special to The Free Press
The Mankato Free Press
---- — MANKATO — Going into Sunday night’s Northwoods League basebal game agntest against the Waterloo Bucks, the Mankato MoonDogs scored 61 runs in their five previous games.
The pitching staff allowed almost as many runs (60), though, as the MoonDogs lost three of those contests.
“It’s been frustrating with our offense coming around like that and not being able to win the games we need to win, said MoonDogs manager Mike Orchard.
The runs continued to cross the plate for Mankato on Sunday, and they finally got a quality pitching performance as Cameron Giannini, who allowed four runs over seven innings to help defeat Waterloo 12-5 at Franklin Rogers Park.
Mankato put up crooked numbers in each of the first four innings, including a 4-spot in the second, scoring all their runs after two outs.
Hibraim Cordova doubled down the left-field line, bringing Woody Woodward home all the way from first to tie the game at 2. Timothy Arakawa hit a slow grounder to short. Assuming the throw would go first, Cordova rounded third, and the throw came home getting Cordova caught in a rundown. The Waterloo third baseman dropped a throw by the catcher allowing Cordova to get back safely to third keeping the inning alive.
Josh Fuentes made the Bucks pay by drilling a 3-run home run to left, giving the MoonDogs a 5-2 lead after two.
While the MoonDogs were putting up two more runs in both the third and fourth innings, Giannini was mowing down the Bucks, at one point retiring 11 Waterloo batters in a row from the third through seventh innings.
“These guys (Waterloo) are a good offensive team,” said Orchard. “They have a lot of good left-handed hitters, and Cam did a great job against them. He’s been a mainstay at the top of our rotation.”
Mankato delivered 16 hits Sunday with three players getting three hits a piece, including Arakawa reached base six times, going 3-for-3 with three walks and scoring three runs from the leadoff spot.
“That’s my job as the leadoff hitter,” he said. “That’s my job to get on base and today was great day as I was able to get on base all six times and I was able to help my team that way by scoring some runs.”
Woodward went 3-for-4 and scored four runs, and Cordova produced three run-producing hits in five at-bats. Fuentes reached base five times, going 2-for-3 with a pair of walks.
The five-game series continues today, with both teams heading down to Waterloo, Iowa, for a 6:35 p.m. start. They return to Mankato on Tuesday for a 7:05 first pitch.