MANKATO — The Mankato MoonDogs opened up a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning but were unable to hold on in Wednesday’s 5-4 Northwood League baseball loss to the Waterloo Bucks at Franklin Rogers Park.
To start the early MoonDogs’ rally, first baseman Levi Scott smacked a single to left field, which then was followed by a walk and an infield single up the middle by third baseman Derek Umphres. With the bases loaded, Ridge Smith pushed the ball down the third base line and legged out his first triple of the season to bring the MoonDogs a 3-0 lead.
“I took a good swing at a fastball so I was pretty sure that a breaking ball was coming with runners in scoring position,” Smith said. “I was able to stay on it and hit it down the line.”
A few pitches later, the Bucks’ catcher mishandled starter Cody Sedlock’s fastball and allowed the ball to hit the back stop for Smith to score the fourth run of the inning.
After four hitless innings, MoonDogs starter Cord Cockrell surrendered his first run of the night on a solo shot to left field by Bucks’ center fielder Will Sparks. From then on Cockrell and the MoonDogs struggled to keep the Bucks from crossing home plate.
He finished his start throwing 6.1 innings with three earned runs on five hits and three strikeouts before reliever Alex Hackerott took the mound at Franklin Rogers Park for the first time. He went the rest of the way and didn’t give up a run on two hits and three strikeouts.
For the second night in a row, the top of the order for the MoonDogs did not pose a big threat to the Bucks. The first five batters went 3 for 19, and designated hitter Tanner Rockwell, who batted third, went 0 for 5, struck out three times and grounded out into an inning-ending double play. Second baseman Brett Synek was the most productive in the fifth spot, going 1 for 1 with a double and three walks.