(Rochester, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers (2-2 Second Half, 18-21 Overall) dropped the series finale against the Eau Claire Express (2-2, 17-23) Saturday night at Mayo Field. The game featured three ties and two lead changes. A solo home run by Eau Claire in the top of the ninth was the deciding play.
The first two batters of the game reached base for Eau Claire on two errors by the Rochester defense. The errors cost the Honkers a run as Kyle Marinconz (Cal Poly) singled to left field, scoring Zach Gilles (Central Michigan).
Morgan McCullough (Oregon) led off the bottom of the first inning with a double to center field. Zach Zubia (Texas) brought in McCullough to score on a one-out single to right field. The Honkers took the lead on a sacrifice fly to right field by Jordan Hart (Minnesota State-Mankato), which scored Zubia.
Zubia returned in the third inning to hit a solo home run to left-center field, his league-best 14th home run of the season.
A double by Scott Ogrin (Cal Poly) and a groundout by Rudy Rott (Ohio) each brought a run in the top of the fourth, tying the game at 3-3.
The Honkers reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning after an error by the Eau Claire third baseman allowed Johnathan Fleek (Western Illinois) to score from second base. Michael Michalak (DMACC) followed with a double to left field, scoring Zubia.
The lead did not last long as Eau Claire put up three runs on three hits and a Honker error in the top of the sixth inning, taking a 6-5 lead.
David Noworyta (Hawaii) led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single to center field. He scored and tied the game at 6-6 on a groundout by Fleek.
The game was nearing the end of regulation when Robby Campillo (New Mexico) hit a go-ahead solo home run to lead off the top of the ninth inning.
Jake Sommers (UW-Milwaukee) pitched the final three innings to earn the win (1-0) for the Express. He gave up three hits while striking out five.
Griffin Neuer (Bellarmine) took the loss (0-1) for the Honkers. He pitched two innings, giving up one run on four hits while striking out one.
The Honkers finish a three-game homestand with an afternoon game against the Waterloo Bucks tomorrow, July 9, at Mayo Field. It is Minnesota Renaissance Festival Day at the ballpark. The first 300 adults and 200 children will receive a free Minnesota Renaissance Festival Ticket. It is Slider’s Kids Club Day. Every Sunday home game, Kids also eat free on the Sports Deck and can run the bases after the game. Gates open at noon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Michael Stryffeler (Lake Erie) is scheduled to start on the mound 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.