(Rochester, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers (13-13) hit six home runs in a 10-8 win over the St. Cloud Rox (18-9) Sunday afternoon at Mayo Field. Ryan Fitzpatrick (UC Irvine) became the fourth Honker ever to hit three home runs in a single game. Five batters in the Rochester lineup finished with multiple hits and six scored runs in the game. Zach Zubia (Texas) extended his league-leading on-base streak to 26 games with two hits today.
Drew Avans (Southeastern Louisiana) reached on an error by Honkers’ left fielder Mike Echavia (Nevada) in the top of the third inning. Avans came in to score on a wild pitch. Four pitches after Avans scored, Matthew Tarantino (Pacific) hit a solo home run to score the second run of the game.
St. Cloud’s starting pitcher, Jack Cushing (Georgetown), entered the game with a 0.72 ERA, which was third-best in the Northwoods League. After being held scoreless through three innings, the Honker offense finally got to Cushing in the fourth inning with solo home runs by Echavia and Ryan Fitzpatrick (UC Irvine).
The Honkers’ starting pitcher Beau O’Hara (Texas) held the Rox scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, but gave up the lead in the top of the sixth inning on a solo home run by Ricardo Sanchez (Arkansas-Pine Bluff).
The Honkers put up six runs in the sixth inning off two three-run home runs by Fitzpatrick and Chris Ceballos (Orange Coast).
The Flock returned the next inning to do even more damage. Zubia and Fitzpatrick homered back-to-back in the seventh, extending the Rochester lead to 10-3.
St. Cloud made a threat against the Rochester lead with a late comeback in the top of the ninth inning. The Rox loaded the bases to start the inning with a single and two walks. Angelo Altavilla (Nebraska) doubled to center field, which scored two runs. Brad Mathiowetz (Florida Atlantic) hit a three-run home run which brought the Rox within striking distance, but that would be as far as they would get.
Garrett Cobb (Seminole State) was sent in to close out the ninth and struck out Avans for the final out of the game, earning his fifth save of the season.
O’Hara earned the win (2-1) for the Honkers. He pitched six innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on ten hits. He struck out a batter and walked one.
Cushing took the loss (2-1) for the Rox. He pitched five innings, giving up five runs on eight hits. He struck out two batters and walked one.
The two teams will match up again tomorrow night in St. Cloud. First pitch from Joe Faber Field is 7:05 p.m. Drew Slade (Ripon) is scheduled to pitch for the Honkers. Slade is 2-0 this season with an 8.43 ERA. Ryan Shreve (Pacific) is scheduled to pitch for the Rox. Shreve is 2-0 this season with a 2.21 ERA.
The Honkers’ next home game is Tuesday, June 27, against the Thunder Bay Border Cats. It will be Team Poster Night, presented by Johnson Printing and & 103.9 The Doc. The first 500 fans will receive a free team poster. Gates will open at 6:00 p.m., with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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.