Early Offense Enough to Outlast Express
(Rochester, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers (12-12) defeated the Eau Claire Express (9-14) on Friday night at Mayo Field by a score of 5-2. The Honkers put five runs on the scoreboard in the first two innings of the game, but did not score the rest of the game. After a three-for-four performance tonight, Konnor Zickefoose (UC Irvine) has collected three hits in back-to-back games. Zach Zubia (Texas) extended his league-leading on-base streak to 24 games with a hit tonight.
Zubia got the ball rolling for the Honkers in the opening inning with a two-out double. Weston Hatten (Nevada) followed with a single and moved to second base on the throw. Two runners were in scoring position for Zickefoose, who hit a soft single to left-center field, scoring both runners.
The Honkers returned the next inning with more fireworks. Chris Ceballos (Orange Coast) hit a solo home run to left field, his third of the season. After a two-out double by Morgan McCullough (Oregon), left fielder Mike Echavia (Nevada) followed with a moon shot two-run home run to deep right-center field.
Hunter Sullivan (Louisville) held the Express offense quiet in his first four innings of his start, but got into some trouble in the fifth inning. After a flyout to start the inning, Sullivan walked three consecutive batters. Luke Bandy (Dallas Baptist) brought home Taylor Field (Winona State) from third base on a sacrifice fly to left field. A groundout allowed Sullivan to get out of the inning without any further damage.
Jack Wolger (California) was a bright spot for the Express. He pitched the final four innings in relief for Eau Claire. He kept the Flock off the scoreboard, striking out five batters and walking two.
Eau Claire added another run in the seventh inning on a RBI groundout by Field, but the Honkers’ bullpen was able to recover and secure the win.
Garrett Cobb (Seminole State) pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his fourth save of the season. The leadoff batter did hit a single and stole second, but Cobb responded with three consecutive outs to end the game.
Sullivan earned the win (3-0) for the Honkers. He struck out three batters and walked seven in his five innings tonight.
Luke Eldred (Dallas Baptist) took the loss (0-1) for the Express. He gave up five runs on eight hits in four innings. He struck out three batters with one walk.
The Honkers will finish up a four-game series against the Eau Claire Express on the road tomorrow night. First pitch from Carson Park is 6:35 p.m. Byron-native Ryan Thompson (Illinois) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Honkers. Thompson is 1-1 this season with a 4.30 ERA. Drew Gillespie (New Mexico) will start for the Express. Gillespie is 0-1 this season with a 3.00 ERA.
The next home game is this Sunday, June 25th. The Honkers will take on the St. Cloud Rox on College Pride Day. Wear your favorite college’s apparel or show a valid College Student ID and receive a General Admission for just $5. It is also Slider Kid’s Club day at the ballpark. Kids eat free on the Sports Deck and can run the bases after the game. First pitch Sunday is 1:05 p.m. Gates open at noon.
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.