(Rochester, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers (8-5 Second Half, 24-24 Overall) overcame a three-run deficit to defeat the St. Cloud Rox (4-10, 29-21) by a score of 5-4 Saturday night at Mayo Field. Drew Slade (Ripon) pitched into the ninth inning, the longest start of any Honker starting pitcher this season. He retired an incredible 17 consecutive batters, which started in the second inning.
Shane Selman (McNeese State) and Keaton Kringlen (BYU) hit back-to-back home runs to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
The Honkers answered with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Ryan Fitzpatrick (UC Irvine) singled to right field with one out, scoring Weston Hatten (Nevada) from third base. An error by the St. Cloud shortstop allowed Morgan McCullough (Oregon) to score in the next at-bat.
The St. Cloud starting pitcher, Kenny Saenz (BYU), held the one-run lead through five innings. Konnor Zickefoose (UC Irvine) tied the game for the Honkers in the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run to right field, his first of the season.
Fitzpatrick gave the Flock their first lead with a booming solo home run to left field to start the eighth inning. Jordan Hart (Minnesota State-Mankato) extended the lead, four batters later, on a single to center field, which scored Zickefoose from second base.
Slade entered the top of the ninth inning, trying to throw a complete game, but came up three outs short. The Rox loaded the bases to start the inning on three singles, which brought in the Honkers closer, Garrett Cobb (Seminole State), to relieve Slade. A wild pitch brought the Rox within a run, but Cobb closed out the game, collecting his ninth save of the season.
Slade earned the win (4-1) for the Honkers. He gave up four runs on seven hits in 8.0 innings while striking out five batters without a walk.
Drew Avans (Southeastern Louisiana) took the loss (0-2) for the Rox. He pitched one inning, giving up two runs on three hits while walking one batter.
The Honkers will finish the series against the Rox tomorrow, July 23, in St. Cloud. First pitch from Joe Faber Field is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Kenyon Yovan (Oregon) is scheduled to make his first start on the mound for the Honkers. Yovan has a 2.57 ERA in seven innings this season. Robbie Palkert (Nebraska) is scheduled to pitch for the Rox. Palkert is 3-0 this season with a 1.35 ERA.
The next home game for the Flock is Wednesday, July 26, against the La Crosse Loggers. It will be Kids 3Buck Day, presented Overby Orthodontics. Kids 12 and under can gain admission to the game for only three dollars. First pitch is 12:05 p.m. Gates open at 11:00 a.m. The Honkers will then make the short trip to La Crosse to play the second game of the doubleheader. First pitch from Copeland Park 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.