Bombers hold off Honkers late charge, top Rochester, 7-5

By: Ari Ross, Broadcaster

The Battle Creek Bombers topped the Rochester Honkers, 7-5 Thursday night at Mayo Field as they mashed a couple home runs at the plate and were able to hold off a late charge by the Honkers.

Against Cody Puckett on the mound, the Honkers took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. After Puckett walked the first two batters, Alex Fitchett lined a single into center, scoring Drew Ellis from second, but Dean Miller gunned down Jackson Thoreson trying to advance from second to third for the first out of the inning and Puckett struck out two of the next three to head to the third with the Bombers trailing 1-0.

It wouldn't take long for Battle Creek to tie things up, though, as Nick Poirier led of the top of the third and with a 2-0 count, launched a solo home run over the fence in right center to knot the score up at one.

And with the bats waking up against Honkers the Bombers would take the lead in the top of the fourth. Storm Joop would reach on an error, moving over to third on Cody Sporrer's double, his second of the day. Joop would score on Cody Young's RBI single but with Young caught in a rundown between first and second, Sporrer would go home and be tagged out at the plate.

With Young at second, Poirier would smash an single off the glove of Honkers first baseman Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Young was gunned down at home to keep the Bombers' lead at 2-1.

The Bombers wouldn't lead for too long, though, as Drew Ellis mashed the first pitch from Puckett in the bottom of the fourth over the fence in right center to the tie game up at two.

But once again the Bombers would retake the lead in the top of the fifth, this time for good. The Bombers loaded the bases on two walks and an error, bringing Miller to the plate. Miller's sacrifice fly would score Daniel Patzlaff from third and then a wild pitch would score Christian Helsel to give the Bombers a 4-2 lead.

An error on Daniel Jipping's fly ball would allow Podkul to score from third to extend the lead to 5-2 and after Sporrer's two-out single, his third hit of the game, the Honkers would be forced to make a call to the bullpen. Sporrer went 3 for 3 with two doubles and a single against his UC-Riverside teammate, Delgado, on the hill and 3 for 5 on the day.

On the hill for the Bombers, Puckett struggled early on, allowing two runs and walking three over the first four innings, but after Ellis' solo shot he settled down and continued to mow down the Honkers' hitters. Puckett finished the game with a season-high 10 strikeouts as he allowed just two runs on three hits and four walks over 5.0 innings pitched, picking up his fourth win of the season.

David Inman would relieve Puckett in the sixth and pick up right where the starter left off, striking out the side in the inning to increase the Bombers' strikeout total to 13 on the night. In total, Puckett, Inman, Edgar Sanchez and Jonathan Cheshire, would combine to strike out 14 Honkers on the night.

Miller would lead off the seventh for the Bombers with a double before Jipping would reach double digits in the home run category, belting Brett Herber's 0-1 pitch deep over the left center field wall to give Battle Creek a 7-2 lead.

The Honkers would look to mount a comeback, beginning in the bottom of the eighth inning as Kyle Kasser led off the inning with a bloop double. With one out, Joey Czarske hit an infield single to advance Kasser to third before Ellis hit his second home run of the game, this time a three-run shot, to cut the Bombers' lead to 7-5.

But Jonathan Cheshire would come in to relieve Sanchez in the ninth and nail down the save, his second of the year, to give the Bombers the win.

With the win, Battle Creek moves to 33-29 on the season and 15-11 in the second half, while the Honkers fall to 18-45 and 11-17 in the second half.

The Bombers will go for the two-game series sweep Friday night at Mayo Field at 7:05 CST/8:05 EST as they'll send Nigel Ward to the hill against David Worrell and the Rochester Honkers.