Honkers string together back-to-back wins Friday with a ninth-inning rally and comeback
(Rochester, Minn.)– Reid Roper’s (Illinois) heroics help the Honkers to a second-straight win Thursday night, this time against the Blue Anchors, 5-4.
Matt Kent (Texas A&M) has been one of the league’s best this season with an ERA of 2.33 in six games but struggled in his second start against the Blue Anchors this season.
Kent opened the game allowing two runs in the top of the first inning with two outs. Ricky Sanchez (Miami) and Jordan Lee (Texas-Corpus Christi) collected an RBI each on back-to-back base hits, giving the Blue Anchors an early 2-0 lead.
L.J. Brewster (Hawaii) helped cut the deficit in half during the bottom of the first, hitting a single to left field, scoring Corey Hassel (Oklahoma State) from second base.
In the third inning, the Honkers grabbed the lead off Alexandria starter Andrew Thome (North Dakota). After smacking a leadoff single to left field, Connor Schaefbauer (Minnesota) came around to score on a throwing error committed by Blue Anchors third baseman Kris Goodman (Iowa). The error brought the go-ahead run, Brewster, to third base. Soon after, John Schuknecht (Cal Poly) gave the Honkers the lead on a double down the left field line, scoring Brewster; Honkers led 3-2 headed into the fourth.
Kent never quite settled in on the evening, though. The Blue Anchors responded quickly to the Honkers’ two-run third inning with a double to start off the fourth. Kent managed to retire the next two batters with leadoff man Goodman stepping into the batters box. Goodman took the first pitch from Kent to left field and tied the game up at three. Alexandria shortstop Craig Nennig (Ohio State) delivered a go-ahead double into the left field corner, pushing the Blue Anchors to a 4-3 lead. Kent would finish the evening on the hook for the loss. Kent pitched five innings and surrendered four runs on nine hits and one walk; he struck out eight batters along the way – giving him a team-high 39 this summer.
In relief of Kent, Max Weinstein (California, Irvine), Nick Highberger (Creighton) and Carl Jameson (Missouri Baptist) combined to pitch the final four innings for the Honkers not allowing a single hit in in their joint relief effort.
After escaping a bases loaded jam in the eighth inning, the Blue Anchors walked Ryan Boldt (Nebraska) to lead off the ninth. Boldt stole second base and came around to score the tying run on a single by Schaefbauer. Reid Roper stood at the plate with one out and the game-winning run on second base. Roper delivered the Honkers to their fourth win of the half on a walk-off single up the middle, scoring Schaefbauer from second base, and the Honkers defeated the Blue Anchors, 5-4.
The Honkers can pick up a third-straight win and a series win against Alexandria at 7:05 p.m. back at Mayo Field tomorrow night. Michael Freeman (Oklahoma State) is set to make his first start since June 17 after recovering from injury. Ticket information for Friday night’s ballgame can be found 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.