Nick Gruener allows one hit in 7 innings to help hand Eau Claire first loss
(Rochester, Minn.)– Prior to Thursday’s game against the Eau Claire Express, the Honkers’ hot bats were the story. Thursday night, the Honkers were only able to gather 6 hits but still managed to win the game behind the arm of Nick Gruener (Harvard).
Gruener was phenomenal in his first start of the year for the Honkers. He pitched 7 innings in the game allowing just 1 hit, 1 walk and 1 run. In addition to the Honkers’ 14 strikeouts the night before, Gruener struck out seven batters himself tonight and reliever John Conquy (Dixie State) added 1 strikeout, bringing the Honkers’ strikeout total to 22 over the last two ballgames.
The Honkers also relied upon some timely hitting, too, in order to overcome some strong pitching by the Express. Alex Schultz (Nebraska Omaha) had been struggling atop the lineup for the Honkers in the first two games of the season, collecting just one hit prior to Thursday’s game. But, on Thursday night, Schultz was the team’s generator – he was 3-5 with a double and scored two of the Honkers’ three runs. The centerfielder’s 3 hits in the ballgame accounted for half of the team’s total.
After Gruener’s night was finished, Conquy pitched the 8th and 9th innings. He allowed 1 hit and pitched out of some trouble in the 9th with runners on first and third base with just one out on his way to his first save as a Honker.
Next for the Honkers, the team makes a pit stop at home to play the Express again on Friday night before beginning a five-game road trip that will take them to Duluth, Thunder Bay and Mankato. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. and the game will be followed by a fireworks show. Ticket information is available at rochesterhonkers.com.
The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visitwww.rochesterhonkers.com.