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(July 27)-Four errors help end Honkers’ win streak; drop game 6-3 in Eau Claire

 

Honkers bats stall late, split their series with the Express in Eau Claire 

(Rochester, Minn.)– Four Honkers errors contribute to a tough loss Sunday night in Eau Claire, 6-3.

The game’s starters Ryan Bower (Allan Hancock College) and Conner Rusch (New Mexico) kept it scoreless until the third inning when the Express’ Brady Burzynski (Wisconsin-Stout) led off the inning with a single. Burzynski eventually scored on a single from catcher Daniel Salters (Dallas Baptist) to put the Honkers behind a run.

While Rusch continued to keep the Honkers down, the Express loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth. After coaxing Eau Claire All-Star Tyler Hermann (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) to pop out to second base, Bower hit Drew Turbin (Dallas Baptist) to give the Express another run. But Bower did his best to limit the damage, stranding the bases loaded and retired the last two Express via the strikeout, keeping the game 2-0.

Brandon Stennis (Doane College) relieved Bower to start the sixth and he pitched around a couple of singles to keep the score at 2-0, keeping the Honkers within reach of a key division win Sunday evening.

In the seventh, the Express added to their lead without even recording a hit. An error and a couple stolen bases put runners on second and third base with two outs. A passed ball from catcher Jack Goihl (Augustana College) put the Express up by three.

The Honkers rallied in the eighth, though, scoring a couple of runs to cut the lead to 3-2. Rochester loaded the bases after Rusch hit a couple of Honkers and allowed a single to put his team’s lead in jeopardy. Corey Hassel (Oklahoma State) grounded a ball to third base when it was bobbled and thrown away by Express third baseman Hermann, scoring two runs.

But Salters helped the Express counter the Honkers’ top of the eighth with a few runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Salters singled up the middle off Nick Highberger (Creighton) to give Eau Claire a 4-2 lead. A bases-loaded fielder’s choice tacked on a fifth Express run and a wild pitch scored a sixth and the Honkers had just three outs to score four runs and tie the game.

Express reliever Eric Gleese (Hawaii) got himself into some trouble in the top of the ninth inning, though. The Honkers loaded the bases with just one out and Gleese walked in a run to put the game-tying run at first base for Hassel with two outs. But Hassel struck out and the Honkers ended their five-game win streak and gave Eau Claire the 6-3 win Sunday evening.

The Honkers are back at it tomorrow night at Mayo Field when they host the St. Cloud Rox for a 7:05 p.m. start Monday. Spencer Greer (Western Nevada Community College) is primed to earn his fifth win for the Honkers this season and get Rochester back on track. Ticket information can be found at rochesterhonkers.com.

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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.