A five-run seventh inning for the Rox robs Honkers of a win late
(Rochester, Minn.)– The Honkers dropped their fourth game of the second half, 9-4, to the St. Cloud Rox on Sunday afternoon at Mayo Field.
The Honkers struck first in the bottom of the first with two outs and two runners on. Casey Fletcher singled home L.J. Brewster (Hawaii) after working a nine-pitch at-bat. Reid Roper (Illinois) followed his schoolmate Fletcher with another single, this time up the middle, scoring John Schuknecht (Cal Poly) from second base. Fletcher eventually came around to score, too, on a wild pitch from Rox starter Josh Taylor (Georgia College and State). All three Honkers runs came with two outs and it chased starter Taylor from the game.
After a flawless first from Honkers starter Logan Spitzack (St. Cloud State), Spitzack allowed St. Cloud to answer the three-run inning for Rochester with a solo home run by Will Craig (Wake Forest), his fourth of the season.
The Rox cut the Honkers lead down to one run in the top of the fifth inning after another solo home run allowed by Honkers pitching, this time to Eric Loxtercamp (St. Cloud State), his second of the summer. The home run was the fourth allowed by Honkers pitching in the past two games and their league-leading 29th allowed as a staff this season.
Spitzack reagined his form on the mound and ended up pitching six innings and allowed just two runs on four hits and two walks.
The Honkers built on their one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning with a home run from Reid Roper that was pulled down the right field line. It was Roper’s first home run of the season and pushed the Honkers to a 4-2 lead.
But in the top of the seventh inning, Michael Freeman (Oklahoma State) relieved Spitzack to make his first appearance since June 17 after suffering a high ankle sprain. Freeman was strong in the inning but the Rox tied it after some sloppy play behind the plate from catcher Parker Guinn (Washington). Freeman coaxed two Rox to swing and miss at strike three in the dirt. Both drop third strikes allowed the batters to reach base. A throwing error from Guinn scored the Rox’s third run and a Freeman wild pitch scored the game-tying fourth. The 6’8’’ Oklahoma State lefty finished the inning allowing two runs, both unearned, on one hit, no walks and three strikeouts.
Max Weinstein (California, Irvine) relieved Freeman in the top of the eighth inning and surrendered a leadoff single to Kade Scivicque (Louisiana State). Following the base hit, Weinstein hit three-consecutive batters and the Rox grabbed their first lead of the game. Field manager Matt Bowman called on Jeff Campbell (North Dakota) to replace Weinstein, and on his first pitch in relief, Charles Galiano (Fordham) smacked a two-run double into the left field corner. Bradley Strong singled to center field after Galiano’s double, scoring two more runs for the Rox.
The Honkers finished the eighth and ninth innings without threatening to tie and that would be it until tomorrow. The Honkers and Rox meet again Monday night, this time at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud, Minn, for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. Tomorrow, Nick Gruener (Harvard) will look to bounce back from a tough start against Duluth on July 2, in search of his fourth win this summer. The Honkers start a six-game homestand on Tuesday, hosting the Duluth Huskies at 7:05 p.m. 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.