Matt Kent gets to league-low in ERA and ties league-lead in Ks as he helps Honkers to big win Saturday night
(Rochester, Minn.)– The Honkers edged a little closer to the top of the division Saturday evening with a big win against the Eau Claire Express, 8-1. The Honkers sent their ace of staff, Matt Kent (Texas A&M), to the hill to help the Honkers to a fifth-straight – the team’s longest of the season.
After a scoreless first, the Honkers put together a big second inning off Express starter Ian Doughty (Pepperdine). Alex Schultz (Nebraska Omaha) reached first and then second base on two separate errors to open the inning and promptly scored on a passed ball and a wild pitch all with Reid Roper (Illinois) at the plate.
A walk by Reid Roper and a single from Travis Hull (Chabot College) put runners on first and second base with nobody out for shortstop Ryne Roper (Illinois). Ryne dribbled a ball to Doughty who threw it beyond the reach of Express first baseman Jack Zoellner (New Mexico), scoring his brother Reid. Tanner Buenting (Iowa Central Community College) singled to score two more runs for the Honkers, giving them the early 4-0 advantage. In the inning, the Honkers scored four runs on three hits and three Express errors.
In the third, Reid Roper was in the middle of the action once more. Ryan Boldt (Nebraska) hit a one-out single and Reid followed by lining a home run over the short right field fence and pushing the Honkers to a six-run lead.
Doughty was removed to start the fourth inning, in line for his second loss to the Honkers this season. He finished the night pitching three innings, allowing six runs (four unearned) on five hits and one walk.
Off reliever Jeremy Bagnall (Montevallo) this time, the Honkers tacked onto their lead in the fourth. With two outs, a walk, a single and a run-scoring base hit by Corey Hassel (Oklahoma State) made it 7-0 giving Kent plenty of room to work with.
Kent had been his typically stellar self throughout his start Saturday night, in fact, he did not allow a run until the bottom of the seventh inning when catcher Brian Mundell (Cal Poly) hit his third home run of the season. Just a solo home run, the Honkers still commanded a 7-1 lead at Carson Park.
The Honkers got the run back in the top of the ninth, though, on an RBI single from Ryan Boldt, giving Carl Jameson (Missouri Baptist) a seven-run cushion to close out the ballgame. Kent finished his start allowing just one run on four hits, no walks and struck out five, now tied in he Northwoods League with 57 strikeouts and is leading the league in ERA at 2.01.
Jameson pitched around an infield single to finish the game helping the Honkers to a fifth-straight win, a season-high. The Honkers are now 12-10 and just one game behind the North Division leaders Willmar Stingers. Rochester will play the Express again tomorrow at 5:05 p.m. The Honkers are home next on Monday when they welcome the St. Cloud Rox to Mayo Field for a 7:05 p.m. start. 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.