(Waterloo, Iowa.) – The Rochester Honkers (16-15) hit three home runs, but lost 6-4 to the Waterloo Bucks (21-11) Friday night at Riverfront Stadium. The Honkers stranded two runners on base in the ninth inning. Zach Zubia (Texas) hit his league-leading 11th and 12th home runs of the season. He also extended his on-base streak to 31 games.
The Honkers jumped to an early lead in the first inning. Zeke Pinkham (Louisville) walked on four pitches with one out. Zubia followed with a two-run home run.
Waterloo claimed the lead with four runs in the second inning. The Bucks loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk. Ian Nelson (Missouri) hit a two-run single, tying the game. The Rochester starting pitcher Hunter Sullivan (Louisville) walked two straight batters, allowing another run to score. Tyler Stover (UL Lafayette) followed with a single to left field. Nelson scored from third base, but Ian Schuyler (San Diego) was thrown out at the plate by Honkers’ left fielder Jordan Hart (Minnesota State-Mankato) for the third out.
John Cable (New Orleans) added to the Bucks’ lead in the bottom of the third inning with a two-out double to center field, scoring Joe Genord (South Florida) from first base.
Hart and Zubia led off the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, with solo home runs, pulling Rochester within a run of the Waterloo lead.
Chia-Ching Ho (National Taiwan Sports University) pitched four scoreless innings in relief for the Honkers. He did not give up a hit in his outing while striking out three batters and walking three.
Waterloo scored an insurance run off Rochester reliever Jacob Green (Lake Erie) in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on first and third base and one out, Keaton Presley (Central Arkansas) was caught trying to steal second base. As it was happening, Dalton Hurd (Seattle) came in to score from third base.
The Honkers made a serious threat to the Waterloo lead in the ninth inning. Johnathan Fleek (Western Illinois) and Zubia walked before Waterloo made a pitching change.
While Zachary McLeod (Grand Canyon) was warming up on the mound, the game was put into a rain delay.
The rain cleared up, allowing the game to continue. Unfortunately, McLeod struck out the next two batters to end the game, earning his second save of the season.
Ryan Garcia (UCLA) earned the win (2-0) for the Bucks. He pitched five innings, giving up two runs on two hits. He struck out six batters and walked five.
Sullivan took the loss (3-1) for the Honkers. He pitched three innings, giving up five runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking three.
The Honkers return home tomorrow, July 1, to face the Willmar Stingers. It will be a Fireworks Extravaganza, presented by Olmsted Medical Center and ABC 6 News. It is also part of the Bob the Bug Man “Swatter Series.” First pitch Saturday is 7:05 p.m. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. Ryan Thompson (Illinois) is scheduled to pitch for the Honkers.
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.