Honkers manage just five hits to finish the day and split the Border Cats in the day’s doubleheader
(Rochester, Minn.)– The Honkers and Border Cats split the day’s make-up doubleheader with each team winning a game piece. In the second game, the Honkers late rally fell short of helping them to a seventh-straight win against the Border Cats this summer; Thunder Bay took the ballgame late Saturday night, 6-3.
Like the first game, the Border Cats managed to score the first run in the top of the first inning. Jacob Robson (Mississippi State) took a walk with one out from Honkers starter Eli Egger (Benedictine College) – Saturday was Egger’s first appearance with the Honkers this season. Robson promptly stole second base and scored on a base hit to center field from Robb Paller (Columbia) after a close play at home.
But unlike the first game, the Border Cats added to their lead. In the second inning, Thunder Bay strung together three consecutive hits and a sacrifice fly to get their second and third runs of the ballgame.
The Honkers responded to the Border Cats’ top half of the second with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Blaise Lezynski (Notre Dame) hit a sacrifice fly ball to center field to score the Honkers’ first run. Later in the inning with two outs, Alex Schultz (Nebraska Omaha) worked a walk off Border Cats starter Paul Murphy (Milwaukee Area Technical College) with the bases loaded – like Egger, it was also the Thunder Bay debut for Murphy, too – and the Honkers cut the lead to 3-2.
As starters Egger and Murphy settled in, the third, fourth and fifth innings were scoreless as the Border Cats’ lead was stuck at 3-2.
The Border Cats built on their lead in the top of the sixth, however. After the inning’s lead-off man reached on an error, Thunder Bay’s second baseman Jordan Serena (Columbia) doubled in the Border Cats’ fourth run of the game off reliever Brandon Nickolite (Mount Marty College), giving Thunder Bay a 4-2 lead. The inning wasn’t over, either; the Border Cats got runners on first and second base for their RBI leader Robb Paller. Paller doubled deep into the left field gap to push Thunder Bay’s lead to 6-2.
Entering the bottom of the seventh, the Honkers had just three hits in the first six innings. But, despite a bases loaded rally, the Honkers came up just short in the evening’s second ballgame. A bases loaded single from Reid Roper (Illinois) scored the Honkers’ third run of the game, but the Honkers would strand the bases loaded after both Jeff Campbell (North Dakota) and Jordan Smith (Minnesota) flew out to end the ballgame, giving Thunder Bay their first win over Rochester this season by a final score of 6-3.
Tomorrow, the Honkers will host the Border Cats for the final game between the two teams all summer. Sunday’s game time is set for 1:05 p.m. and Brandon Stennis (Doane College) will make his third start of the season for the Honkers. Ticket information for tomorrow’s game 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.