A three-run seventh inning lifts the Honkers to a fourth-straight win and sweep of the Bombers
(Rochester, Minn.)– The Honkers took the field Friday night with the hopes of a two-game sweep of the Battle Creek Bombers. But it was some more late rallying that helped the Honkers to the win. A three-run seventh helped the Honkers to a 4-1 win Friday evening at Mayo Field, earning them a sweep of the Bombers and their fourth-straight win.
The Honkers sent righty Seth Holbert (Sam Houston State) to the mound to start the game, looking for his second win of the summer. Holbert opened the game with typical dominance, striking out three of his first five batters faced. He pitched around some one-out singles in the second to keep the game scoreless.
On the other side of the mound, the Bombers sent the left-handed Collin Orellana (San Diego State). And he was excellent. In his first start of the season, Orellana did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, and it was a slow-rolling ground ball that Jeff Campbell (North Dakota) beat out.
Holbert and Orellana were officially dueling by the sixth inning. Neither pitcher had allowed a run; Holbert had seven strikeouts and Orellana’s two hits allowed didn’t leave the infield. Both teams were baffled at the plate by each other’s starter.
But in the sixth, Alex Schultz’s infield single put him on first base with two outs. After stealing second base with Campbell at the plate, Schultz moved to third base on a wild pitch. Campbell worked a tough at-bat to a full count before being walked on a pitch that skipped off the dirt and behind Bombers catcher Cody Kuzniczci (Northern Kentucky), scoring Schultz and bringing home the first run of the ballgame. Orellana’s second wild pitch of the at-bat gave the Honkers the 1-0 lead.
Holbert returned to the mound in the seventh inning but promptly allowed Kuzniczci to drop a double down the right field line. A sacrifice bunt moved him to third and a sacrifice fly ball from Sebastian Diaz (Miami) tied the game at one off Holbert. A two-out walk ended Holbert’s night after lefty reliever Will Bamesberger (Creighton) was called upon to record the seventh’s final out. Holbert finished the evening surrendering just one run on five hits, four walks with seven strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched.
To start the seventh, Battle Creek used reliever Matthew Rhodes (Hardin-Simmons) and the Honkers finally collected their first hit that went beyond the infield. Parker Guinn (Washington) stole second base with two outs and lead-off man Ryan Boldt (Nebraska) smacked a deep double over left fielder’s head to give the Honkers a 2-1 lead. Corey Hassel (Oklahoma State) smashed a two-run home run way over the left field fence off Rhodes, giving the Honkers a three-run lead – it was Hassel’s team-leading sixth home run this season.
A scoreless eighth and ninth inning pitched by Bamesberger and Nick Highberger (Creighton) got the Honkers to their fourth-straight win and the sweep of the Bombers, 4-1.
The Honkers hit the road tomorrow to play a two-game series in Eau Claire on Saturday and Sunday. Matt Kent (Texas A&M) is primed to start tomorrow’s game, looking to build on his league-leading number of strikeouts (52). The Honkers are home next on Monday night when they welcome the St. Cloud Rox for a 7:05 p.m. start time. 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, visit www.rochesterhonkers.com.