Slade rolls through 5 IP, Rochester takes 3-of-4

BISMARCK, ND – When it rains it pours.

After the Larks took a lead in the first inning last night, the rain came and washed the Bismarck offense away.

The Larks dropped both games on a gloomy Sunday as the Honkers took game two by a final score of 7-3.

As a result of the Saturday game being postponed, the 5:05 pm game was shortened to seven innings,

Drew Slade started on the mound for the Honkers. Slade started the game Saturday that was rained out and postponed until Sunday at 12:05 pm. He threw 35 pitches in the first inning, which meant he could not come back and pitch in game one.

Rochester gave Slade an early run in the first when Konnor Zickefoose hit a sacrifice fly into foul territory down the left field line. Morgan McCullough scored to give the Honkers the lead.

The Larks answered right back to give their starter, Frank Greco, some run support of his own.

Luke Horanski smoked a ball to right field for a three-run home run to score Scooter Bynum and Ryan Anderson. Horanski’s second long ball of the season put the Larks in front 3-1 after one inning.

The Honkers would retake the lead in the third inning. Five straight Rochester hitters reached base to start the inning, and four of them would score. Three hits, two walks, and a hit batter produced the four runs as the Honkers went up 5-3.

Greco’s day was done after the third inning. He allowed five earned runs on five hits and two walks.

Joe Spradlin came in to relieve Greco, but the Honkers offense stayed hot.

Rochester rattled off four straight hits to start the fourth inning.  Two runs came home on RBIs from McCullough and Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Honkers extended their lead to 7-3.

Spradlin record two straight 1-2-3 innings after the fourth to go through three innings. He allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk.

Slade was spectacular in his outing after a difficult start yesterday. The rain started when he was pitching last night, and it contributed to his lack of command and his high pitch count. Slade took full advantage of his second chance.

Aside from Horanski’s homer in the first, Slade worked quickly and had Bismarck hitters fooled. He allowed just three runs on three hits in his five innings as he walked just two.

In relief, Jacob Green and Garrett Cobb threw the sixth and seventh innings, respectively. Combined, they allowed no runs and no hits, walked two hitters, and struck out three. Cobb finished the ninth to give the Larks a 7-3 victory.

Zickefoose and McCullough led the charge for Rochester. Zickefoose went just 1-for-3, but he tallied three RBIs.

McCullough tore it up all weekend and capped it off with a solid performance Sunday afternoon. He went 2-for2 in the finale with two runs scored and an RBI. He also drew a pair of walks.

The Larks drop to 12-18 in the second half while Rochester moves to 12-16. Only six games remain in the inaugural season for Bismarck. The team travels to Eau Claire for a pair of games with the Express before returning home to play the final four games of the year at home.

Tomorrow’s game in Eau Claire is scheduled for a 6:35 pm first pitch.

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The Bismarck Larks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, 180 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM).  All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Larks as your favorite team.

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