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Mathis, Bottom of Lineup Shine for Honkers

 

Eau Claire, Wis.) –  The Rochester Honkers (11-12) defeated the Eau Claire Express (9-13) Thursday night at Carson Park by a score of 6-1. Eddie Mathis (Bellarmine) went seven strong innings in his fourth start of the season. The bottom of the Honkers’ lineup stepped up in a big way. Batters six through nine batted a combined 7-for-16 (.438) with four RBIs and four runs scored. Zach Zubia (Texas) earned two hits in the game to extend his league-leading on-base streak to 23 games.

Mathis had arguably the best start by a Honker starting pitcher this season. He earned the win (2-3) for the Honkers after pitching seven innings, giving up one unearned run on one hit. Mathis struck out eight batters with only one walk.

After a clean first inning, the bottom of the Honkers’ lineup got the engine started in the second inning. Konnor Zickefoose (UC Irvine) singled with two outs, scoring the leadoff runner Weston Hatten (Nevada) from second base. Following a Chris Ceballos (Orange Coast) single, Ethan Ibarra (St. Cloud State) drove in Zickefoose for the second run of the game. Ceballos was tagged out between second and third base to end the inning.

Justin Evans (Columbus State) singled to lead off the bottom of the third inning for the Express. A bunt moved Evans to second base and a stolen base landed him at third base. Mathis was close to getting out of the inning without any damage, but Evans came in to score Eau Claire’s only run on an error by Honkers’ catcher Chris Ceballos.

Overall, Mathis was nearly unstoppable on the mound. After the Eau Claire run in the third inning, Mathis retired 14 of the next 15 batters to finish his start. He struck out seven batters in his final four innings.

The Eau Claire starting pitcher Lane Ramsey (Oklahoma) kept the Rochester offense quiet for three straight innings, but the Honkers added to their lead in the sixth inning. Michael Michalak (DMACC) singled with one out and two runners on base, scoring Weston Hatten (Nevada). Zickefoose tried to drive in another run with a single to right field, but the Express right fielder threw out Garrett Calvert (Cypress) at home plate for the second out. A fly out ended the inning, limiting the damage to one run.

Rochester added three more runs in the eighth inning off the Eau Claire bullpen. Michalak was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. He scored two batters later on a single by Chris Ceballos. Morgan McCullough (Oregon) extended the Honkers’ lead to five runs with a one-out, two-run single.

Kyle Ferderer (North Dakota State) closed out the game for the Honkers. He pitched the final two innings in relief. He only surrendered two hits and struck out two batters.

Lane Ramsey took the loss (0-2) for the Express. Ramsey pitched 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. He struck out three batters with four walks.

The Honkers will return home tomorrow night to face the Express on Friday, June 23rd. It will be Advanced Financial Consultants Night at the ballpark. Bolder Options will be hosting a 50/50 raffle. It will also be a Safe Ride Friday, presented by Yellow Cab of Rochester. Hunter Sullivan (Louisville) is scheduled to start for the Honkers. Sullivan is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA this season. First pitch Friday night is 7:05 p.m. Gates open at 6:00 p.m.

Box Score

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The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 23-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 160 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.