The bottom of the order came up big for the Mankato MoonDogs on Tuesday night, going 4 for 9 with two RBIs. But it wasn't enough as the team fell 4-3 in a Northwoods League game to the Waterloo Bucks at Franklin Rogers Park.
MoonDogs left fielder Ridge Smith led the team going 2 for 3 with a double, and catcher Dalton DeLeon, the No. 9 batter, didn't get a hit but drove in both of Mankato's runs.
The first five batters struggled with only one hit in 20 at-bats.
"It was good to see Ridge (Smith) get a couple of hits," manager Mike Orchard said. "(Eric) Schenck got a couple hits, and DeLeon had some good situational at-bats. But (the Bucks) are a good pitching team.
The Bucks took advantage of two errors in the outfield to gain a 2-0 lead by the third inning.
"At some point in time you have to come to the ballpark every day, and part of every day is being a little tired, and part of it is being a little fatigued," Orchard said.
After a sharp-lining double by Smith and a successful bunt for a hit by Schenck the center fielder, DeLeon hit a grounder up the middle that was too hot for the Bucks' shortstop to handle, bringing in the MoonDogs' first run in the bottom of the third inning.
Two more runs crossed the plate for the Bucks before the MoonDogs retaliated with two of their own in the fifth inning. Smith hit another shot to left field then was sent home from first base on a Bucks error.
After a six-game road trip, the MoonDogs brought some new faces to The Frank whom they hope will play a vital part in finishing out the season.
Pitcher Blake Battenfield made his first start of the season after playing for Oklahoma State in the NCAA tournament. He pitched four innings and allowed three runs on three hits with three strikeouts to take the loss.