Rochester, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers (7-3 Second Half, 23-22 Overall) defeated the Duluth Huskies (6-5, 21-25) by a score of 16-9 Saturday night at Mayo Field. Zach Zubia (Texas) hit two home runs, totaling seven RBIs and three runs scored. Zubia now has 16 home runs on the season, three shy of tying the team record. Eight different Honker players scored at least one run in the game.
Ethan Ibarra (St. Cloud State) and Morgan McCullough (Oregon) singled back-to-back to start the bottom of the first inning. Zubia followed with a three-run home run to left-center field. Three batters later, Mike Echavia (Nevada) hit a solo home run to right-center field to give the Honkers an early 4-0 lead.
The Huskies grabbed a run in both the third and fourth innings, cutting the Honker lead to two runs. Kevin Hubbuch (North Alabama) and Luke Roskam (Nebraska) hit back-to-back ground-rule doubles with an out in the fifth inning. Chase Strumpf (UCLA) tied the game with a double to right-center field, scoring Roskam.
Zubia returned in the bottom of the fifth inning, again with two runners on base. He hit his second three-run home run of the game, this time to right field.
Duluth erased the Rochester lead for the second time in the game, scoring three runs on four hits and a Honker error in the top of the sixth inning.
Rochester opened the game up with six runs on only two hits in the bottom of the sixth inning. Six consecutive Honkers reached base, including a one-out single by McCullough with the bases loaded, which scored David Noworyta (Hawaii). Duluth walked five batters in the inning.
Andrew Robinson (Western Carolina) hit a two-run home run to right field in the top of the eighth inning. Duluth pulled within four runs of the Rochester lead, but that would be as close as the Huskies would get.
The Honkers put the game out of reach with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, highlighted by a two-run single by Johnathan Fleek (Western Illinois).
Ben Strahm (Cowley County CC) earned the win (1-0) for the Honkers. He pitched one scoreless inning, allowing only a hit while striking out one batter.
Austin Truso (North Dakota State) took the loss (2-1) for the Huskies. He gave up five runs on two hits in one inning while striking out one batter and walking four.
Griffin Neuer (Bellarmine) earned his first save of the season. He pitched the final three innings for the Honkers, striking out five Duluth hitters.
The Honkers finish the series with the Huskies tomorrow, July 16, at Mayo Field. It is Mayo Rhythm Services Day at the ballpark. It is also Slider’s Kids Club Day. Kids eat free on the Sports Deck and can run the bases after the game. First pitch is 1:05 p.m. Gates open at noon. Joe Wills (Cal State Fullerton) is scheduled to start for the Honkers. Wills has not given up an earned run in four innings pitched. Garrett Brown (Point) is scheduled to pitch for the Huskies. Brown is 3-3 this season with a 5.59 ERA.
Starting on Monday, the Honkers will take a three-day break from their busy season schedule for the Northwoods League All-Star festivities on Tuesday, July 18 at Athletic Park in Wausau, Wis. Two Honker players, Jordan Hart (Minnesota State-Mankato) and Zach Zubia (Texas) will take part in the Home Run Derby, which starts at 5:00 p.m. Zubia (first base) will represent the Honkers in the All-Star Game, which starts at 7:05 p.m. later that night.
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.