Bottom of the order helps Honkers to second-straight; defeat MoonDogs 6-3
Ryne Roper breaks out of slump with key RBIs Wednesday night in Mankato
(Rochester, Minn.)– The Honkers won their second-straight game Wednesday night against the MoonDogs in Mankato. Honkers’ hitters seven, eight and nine had five hits and three RBIs after the game started slowly for both sides, offensively.
For the first few innings of Wednesday’s game, the Honkers and MoonDogs were locked in a scoreless tie with pitchers Taylor Elman (Creighton) and Michael Freeman (Oklahoma State) both keeping each other’s team off the scoreboard.
Back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fourth inning set up Brinn Bell (Blackhawk Community College) to break the tie, and he delivered. A single from Bell scored the runners from second and third base with one out and the MoonDogs took the lead, 2-0.
The Honkers countered the MoonDogs’ two-run fourth with five of their own in the fifth. A single from Blaise Lezynski (Notre Dame) followed by a double from Jack Goihl (Augustana) put runners in scoring position with just one out for Ryne Roper (Illinois). Roper took a 3-1 pitch deep into the left center field gap, scoring both runs and tying the game. The Honkers loaded the bases for the hot-hitting Connor Schaefbauer (Minnesota) and he grounded a hard double down the left field line into the corner to score all three baserunners, giving the Honkers a 5-2 lead.
Rochester added to their lead with MoonDogs starter Elman out of the game in the sixth. Alex Hackerott (Oklahoma State) surrendered a solo home run off the bat of Goihl, his second of the season, making the game 6-2.
Blake Quinn (Fresno State) relieved Freeman with one out in the sixth inning. Freeman pitched well in his second start back from injury, allowing just two runs on four hits and three walks, striking out six MoonDogs.
After an off day on Monday and a stellar complete game pitched by Matt Kent (Texas A&M) yesterday afternoon, the Honkers’ bullpen got their work in after Freeman was lifted. Quinn, Will Bamesberger (Creighton), Jeff Campbell (North Dakota) and Carl Jameson (Missouri Baptist) all helped preserve the Honkers’ lead in the final 3.2 innings, allowing just one run on two hits and no walks in a combined relief effort.
Bats at the bottom of the lineup and strong pitching throughout earned the Honkers a home and away sweep of the MoonDogs with wins Tuesday and Wednesday against their neighborhood foes.
The Honkers have a chance to get back to .500 for the first time in the second half of the season tomorrow night against the Eau Claire Express. Logan Spitzack (St. Cloud State) will be given the ball tomorrow with the chance to help the Honkers to their third-consecutive win. Tomorrow’s first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and ticket information 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.