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(June 18)-Honkers use two home runs from Hassel and walk off from Lezynski to beat Border Cats

In the first game of the series, the Honkers smacked three home runs to pull them to an 8-6 win

(Rochester, Minn.)– In a drama-filled evening at Mayo Field, the Honkers defeated the Border Cats on a two-run, walk off home run by Blaise Lezynski (Notre Dame) that gave the Honkers an 8-6 win.

The Honkers poured on offense early against Thunder Bay, but poor defense and missed opportunities at the plate helped put the Border Cats back into the game and the lead.

Will Bamesberger’s (Creighton) rough summer continued Wednesday night. In the first inning of the game, Bamesberger walked two and allowed one hit and the game’s first run.

The Border Cats lead was brief after new Honkers leadoff man, Corey Hassel (Oklahoma State), worked a nine-pitch at-bat into a home run. The Honkers followed Hassel with three more hits and three more runs. Casey Fletcher (Illinois) drove in his team-leading 14th run this season and Reid Roper (Illinois) drove in two more on an RBI single.

Thunder Bay scored three more runs off Bamesberger in the top of the third inning to tie the game. Bamesberger would pitch just three innings, allowing seven hits, four runs and three walks.

But, again, the tie would only last until the bottom of the fourth inning when Hassel homered a second time. His first two hits as a member of the Honkers both were home runs. The speedy Hassel was a catalyst at the top of the order all game, he also reached base on a bunt single and had a sacrifice bunt, too.

A sloppy sixth put the Border Cats in the lead again. Blake Quinn (Fresno State) walked the inning’s first two, forcing the Honkers to make a pitching change. Jeff Campbell (North Dakota) relieved Quinn, and allowed a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up a base. Then, a Campbell wild pitch coupled with a Travis Hull (Chabot College) throwing error allowed both runs to score and the Border Cats regained the lead, 6-5.

The Honkers collected 15 hits in the game but had trouble driving in runs in scoring position.

Honkers closer Carl Jameson (Missouri Baptist) came on in the ninth inning to assure the two-run deficit remained.

In the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Connor Schaefbauer (Minnesota) led the inning off with a hard single up the middle. After a failed sacrifice bunt attempt, Hull doubled into the left-center field gap with two strikes to score Schaefbauer from first base and tie the game, setting up some heroics for Lezynski. On a 1-0 count from Devin McLemore (Winston Salem State), Lezynski hit a long two-run home run over the right field fence, giving the Honkers a big Wednesday night victory.

Tomorrow, the Honkers will face the Border Cats again, at 7:05 p.m. Nick Gruener (Harvard) will go for his third win this season. Ticket information is available at rochesterhonkers.com.

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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.