MANKATO — The Mankato MoonDogs showed no signs of fatigue from a grueling four-day road trip Tuesday afternoon as an 18-hit attack fueled a 9-2 Northwoods League baseball victory over St. Cloud in front of 1,156 fans at Franklin Roger Park.
"It was a rough morning after getting back so late but we're a tough group of guys and we got through it," MoonDogs' starting pitcher Blake Battenfield said. "I made a mistake and he covered it, but then I locked in a little more and got guys out by letting my defense play behind me.
"My stuff moves more with the wind blowing so it makes you concentrate more on keeping the ball down. My slider was backing up, my curve ball was working and I threw a couple of change-up as well."
St. Cloud's Boo Vasquez smacked a Battenfield offering over the scoreboard in right-center field with one out in the top of the first before the right-hander from Oklahoma State settled in to set down 10 of the next 12 hitters. Both Rox runners reached on infield errors, with the second one scoring an unearned run in the fifth. Battenfield allowed two hits over five frames, striking out three and walking none.
Mankato left three runners on base off Rox left-hander Tim Faix through two innings before No. 9 hitter Patrick Massoni's infield single sparked a two-run surge in the bottom of the third. After center fielder Tyler Sullivan bounced a single into right field and second baseman Brett Synek walked, shortstop Peter Maris shot a two-run single up the middle.
"It was a mentality day for us and we just grinded it out," Maris said. "I am loving being here, it's awesome.
"You get to play ball every day and that makes it fun. Everyone in the lineup got a hit today so this was a good team win."