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Seven-run sixth inning pushes Blue Anchors to victory

Kris Goodman chargers a ball at third base on Friday night in an 8-2 victory for the Blue Anchors over Mankato at Knute Nelson Ballpark. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Both pitching and hitting were strong for the Blue Anchors in an 8-2 victory over the Mankato MoonDogs on Friday night at Knute Nelson Ballpark.

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Starting pitcher Jason Zgardowski picked up the win on the mound after going six shutout innings, allowing five hits with four strikeouts and zero walks.

Craig Nennig led Alexandria at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and two RBIs. That performance was enough to give him Northwoods League’s Player of the Night honors for Friday.

Manager Al Newman said the Blue Anchors pitching staff has been the strong point for the team this year, and Friday night the offense provided Zgardowski with plenty of run support.

“The starting pitching has been very good, our offense has struggled all year and the defense is getting better,” Newman said. “I’m just happy that our rotation gets us to the seventh inning, and we try to piece it together from there.”

Jeremy Hyde put the Blue Anchors up 1-0 in the fourth inning as he scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Dalton Leuschke. Hyde led off the inning after he was hit by a pitch.

The Blue Anchors blew the game open with seven runs in the sixth inning. Three of those runs scored on a triple off the bat of Jordan Lee. The triple plated Kris Goodman, Leuschke and Cam Duzenack.

Lee was 0-for-3 heading into the sixth inning with three strikeouts, but he was able put the slow start aside with the three-run triple.

“You know how baseball is, sometimes you struggle early, and you never know when you are going to need that big hit for the team, so that’s what I was trying to do,” Lee said.

Nennig also drove in two runs with a two-out double in the sixth, but Hyde was thrown out at the plate trying to score his second run of the inning.

The victory improved the Blue Anchors to 7-14 in the second half of the Northwoods League season.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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