(Rochester, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers (6-2 Second Half, 22-21 Overall) overcame a 6-1 second-inning deficit to defeat the Waterloo Bucks (4-5, 28-17) by a score of 11-10 Thursday night at Mayo Field. Kenyon Yovan (Oregon) and Michael Michalak (Des Moines Area CC) each collected three hits, including a go-ahead two-run home run by Yovan. Both teams scored in each of the first six half-innings to start the game.
Waterloo and Rochester both opened their halves of the first inning with leadoff home runs. Zach Malis (Grand Canyon) hit a solo home run to right field in the top of the inning. Morgan McCullough (Oregon) answered with a solo home run off the scoreboard in right-center field in the bottom of the inning.
Five runs scored on four hits in the top of the second inning for Waterloo. Two wild pitches and a Honker error scored Jake Viaene (Southern Mississippi) to give the Bucks the lead. After a passed ball scored a run, Malis singled to right field, which scored Keaton Presley (Central Arkansas). Leading 4-1, Charlie Concannon (St. Joseph’s) capped the inning with an RBI double to right field.
Mike Echavia (Nevada) answered in the bottom of the second inning by hitting a double to right field, scoring the leadoff hitter Yovan from first base. Michalak brought in Echavia on an RBI single to left field. Griffin Neuer (Bellarmine) followed with a two-run home run off the scoreboard to pull the Honkers within a run.
Waterloo scored three runs on three hits in the top of the third inning, highlighted by a home run by Viaene to lead off the inning.
Echavia was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the third inning. Three batters later, an error by the Waterloo shortstop allowed Echavia to score from third base. Michalak scored later with two outs on a wild pitch. Konnor Zickefoose (UC Irvine) followed in the same at-bat with a single to center field, scoring Johnathan Fleek (Western Illinois).
After a scoreless fourth inning, Yovan gave the Honkers their first lead of the game with a two-run home run to left-center field, which scored David Noworyta (Hawaii).
Yovan returned in the bottom of the seventh inning, extending the Rochester lead with a double to left field, scoring Zach Zubia (Texas).
The Honkers bullpen held the Bucks offense scoreless in five consecutive frames, holding Waterloo to two hits and striking out three batters. Big defensive plays helped Rochester hold their lead. The Honkers ended a bases-loaded threat by turning a double play to end the top of the fifth inning. Zickefoose threw out a runner at the plate from right field that would have tied the game in the top of the seventh inning.
Waterloo made a threat to come back in the top of the ninth inning. Joe Genord (South Florida) hit a solo home run to right field, pulling the Bucks within one run. That would be as far as they would get as Rochester closer, Garrett Cobb (Seminole State), struck out the final two batters to end the game, earning his eighth save of the season.
Hunter Sullivan (Louisville) earned the win (4-2) for the Honkers. He pitched two scoreless innings, holding Waterloo hitless while striking out one batter and walking three.
Carlisle Koestler (SE Louisiana) took the loss (0-1) for the Bucks. He pitched 1.2 innings, giving up two runs on two hits while striking out three batters and walking one.
The Honkers will travel to Waterloo tomorrow, July 14, for the final time this season. First pitch from Riverfront Stadium is 6:35 p.m. Beau O’Hara (Texas) is scheduled to start for the Honkers. O’Hara is 2-1 this season with a 3.37 ERA. Zachary McLeod (Grand Canyon) is scheduled to start for the Bucks. McLeod is 0-1 this season with a 5.09 ERA.
The Honkers will return home on Saturday, July 15, to face the Duluth Huskies. It will be Bark in the Park at Mayo Field, presented by Leashes and Leads with Coulee Bank and Quick Country 96.5. Get a free general admission ticket if you bring your dog, on a leash, to the game. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. 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, 180 former 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 portal. For more information, visit www.rochesterhonkers.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Honkers as your favorite team.