MANKATO — Trying to expand their win streak to four, the MoonDogs came up short Thursday night to the Alexandria Blue Anchors, losing 5-2 at Franklin Rogers Park.
Though the Blue Anchors hold the worst overall record in the Northwoods League, Alexandria showed off its second-best team batting average in the league, coming up with hits at the most opportune time to earn its second win of the second half. The loss drops the 'Dogs to 5-3 in their second half campaign.
Despite the setback, improvement has definitely been made in the MoonDogs quality of play.
“It’s overall better baseball, better relief pitching for one and we’ve been pretty offensive until tonight so just tightening everything up,” manager Mike Orchard said. “We can be a decent team at times and we can also show the ugly side too.”
MoonDogs starting pitcher Jesse Esquibel did a good job early of keeping the Blue Anchors from crossing the plate, Alexandria broke through in the third inning with an RBI groundout from Michael Barash.
Meanwhile, Alexandria starter Hunter Newman was strong in his six innings pitched, surrendering five hits and striking out seven to earn his first win of the season.
“He had some good stuff,” Mankato outfielder Quinnton Mack said. “He had a nice curve ball and slider but we ended up starting to piece some stuff up out of nowhere and had some good hits up there.”
Barash continued his barrage in the fifth inning with an RBI double off Esquibel to make it 2-0. Alexandria posted another run in the sixth but the MoonDogs answered back with a pair of doubles from Zach Zehner and Mack to make it a two-run ballgame. Mack finished the game 2 for 4.
From there Barash again harassed the 'Dogs with his bat, this time in the seventh inning and resulting in a two-run homer just over the left field fence to bring the score to 5-1.