MANKATO — The Mankato MoonDogs were held to just five hits in their first loss at Franklin Rogers Park this season, losing 4-1 to the Eau Claire Express Saturday in a Northwoods League baseball game.
Express starting pitcher Jordan Ruckman had the MoonDogs' number, throwing six strong, shutout innings, striking out seven batters and only allowing two hits.
"He had variable speeds with his fastball. He would hit up at 89 (mph) and come back with an 86 mph fastball, and he kept the ball low in the strike zone," MoonDogs' third baseman David Petrino said. "When a guy does that, it's hard to put up runs."
Centerfielder Tyler Sullivan led the MoonDogs with two hits and a stolen base.
MoonDogs' starter Cord Cockrell struggled at first. After giving up back-to-back home runs in the second inning, he found a groove. He lasted 6.1 innings, giving up three earned runs with two walks and three strikeouts.
Reliever Austin Kamel made his MoonDogs debut and held his own. With a fastball hitting 89 mph, the lefty went for 1.1 innings with no hits and a strikeout.
The squad added to their list of current players getting selected in the Major League Baseball draft when pitcher Trevor Lubking got his call in the 14th round (427th overall) from the Tampa Bay Rays. The crafty lefty has had two starts with this summer with no earned runs and 11 strikeouts over 11.2 innings. For Pacific Lutheran this spring, he finished with a 6-2 record with a 2.12 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 89 innings.
He was told by the Milwaukee Brewers that they would take him in the 14th round. When the Brewers passed on him with their pick that round, the Rays grabbed him 11 picks.
"I saw my name pop up for the Rays, and I was like, 'Holy crap,'" said Lubking, who plans to leave the MoonDogs today to start his professional career.