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Honkers Climb Back Late, Cannot Overcome Rozek, Rox

 

(St. Cloud, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers (17-20) fell to the St. Cloud Rox (26-12) by a score of 7-4 Thursday night at Joe Faber Field. Johnathan Fleek (Western Illinois) and Morgan McCullough (Oregon) both collected two hits. The loss broke a four-game win streak this season by the Honkers against the Rox.

The Honkers loaded the bases to start the top of the second inning on two walks and a single. Fleek put the Flock on the scoreboard with a single, scoring Kenyon Yovan (Oregon) from third base. Zeke Pinkham (Louisville) scored in the next at-bat on a fielder’s choice by Ethan Ibarra (St. Cloud State).

The Rochester starting pitcher, Hunter Sullivan (Louisville), held the Rox scoreless on three hits through three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth inning. The first five batters of the inning reached on hits, scoring three runs and giving St. Cloud the lead. Cameron Eden (California) capped off the scoring burst with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Cameron Blaquiere (Western Carolina).

After a one-out single by Blaquiere in the fifth inning, an error by the Honker left fielder Konnor Zickefoose (UC Irvine) led to the fifth run of the game for Rox.

The St. Cloud starting pitcher, Aaron Rozek (Minnesota State-Mankato), pitched well after the early runs, retiring 13 consecutive batters at one point.

Rozek retired the first two batters of the seventh inning, but allowed the next three batters to advance on two singles and a walk, loading the bases. Fleek cut the St. Cloud lead to three runs on a wild pitch.

The Honkers pulled within a run in the eighth. Zickefoose doubled to lead off the inning. He scored three batters later on an RBI single by Zeke Pinkham (Louisville).

St. Cloud cushioned their lead with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out and the bases loaded, Shane Selman (McNeese State) singled, scoring Eden. A bases-loaded walk extended the lead to three runs.

Brent Killam (Georgetown) pitched the final 1.2 innings for his sixth save of the season. He retired all five batters he faced with four strikeouts.

Rozek earned the win (5-0) for the Rox. He pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits while striking out five batters and walking four.

Sullivan took the loss (3-2) for the Honkers. He pitched 4.1 innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits while striking out three batters and walking three.

The Honkers return to Mayo Field, July 7, to take on the Eau Claire Express. It will be American Dairy Association Night at the ballpark, with the 23rd Annual Cow Milking Contest held on the field. It is a Safe Ride Friday, presented by Yellow Cab of Rochester. There will also be a 50/50 Raffle for Bolder Options. Byron-native Ryan Thompson (Illinois) is scheduled to pitch for the Honkers.

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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.