(Eau Claire, Wis.) – The Rochester Honkers (12-13) fell to the Eau Claire Express (10-14) Saturday night by a score of 13-3. The Express scored five runs in the second inning and coasted to a 10-run victory. Five Eau Claire batters had multi-hit games. Zach Zubia (Texas) extended his league-leading on-base streak to 25 games with a hit tonight. The Honkers split the four-game series against the Express.
Honkers’ starting pitcher Ryan Thompson (Illinois) pitched a clean first inning, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the second. Rudy Rott (Ohio) led off the inning with a solo home run. Thompson appeared to recover from the blow by retiring the next two batters, but the Express continued their advance.
Eau Claire scored four more runs in the first on four hits and three walks, capped off by a bases-loaded two-run single by Kyle Marinconz (Cal Poly). 11 batters came to the plate in the inning. Marinconz finished the night with three hits and five RBIs. Thompson did not return after the second inning.
The Express added to their lead with a solo home run by Justin Evans (Columbus State) in the third inning and a RBI double by Rott in the fourth inning.
Trailing 0-7, the Honker offense took a chunk out of the Eau Claire lead in the fifth inning after a slow start. Rochester loaded the bases with two outs for the Honker first baseman Zubia, who cleared the bases with a double, driving in his league-leading 26th run of the season.
Eau Claire responded with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Marinconz drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single. Rott followed with a sacrifice fly, driving in Zach Ashford (Fresno State) for their 10th run of the game.
The Express padded their lead with a run in the sixth inning and two more in the eighth, but that was more than enough for the Express to secure the win.
Cody Dye (New Mexico) pitched four scoreless innings in relief for Eau Claire. He did not give up a hit in the outing, striking out five batters and walking one.
Drew Gillespie (New Mexico) earned the win (1-1) for the Express. He pitched five innings, giving up three runs on three hits, striking out eight batters and walking three.
Thompson took the loss (1-2) for the Honkers. He struck out three batters and walked three in two innings pitched.
The Honkers return home tomorrow to take on the St. Cloud Rox on College Pride Day. Wear your favorite college’s apparel or show a valid College Student ID at the ticket booth 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. Beau O’Hara (Texas) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Honkers. O’Hara is 1-1 this season with a 4.50 ERA. 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.