Honkers Fall Late Despite Strong Start by Pitching Staff
(Rochester, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers (14-19 Second Half, 30-38 Overall) dropped a heartbreaker to the Mankato MoonDogs (23-12, 43-28) on Saturday night at Mayo Field. The Honkers held a 3-1 lead through seven innings thanks to a good start by Michael Stryffeler (Lake Erie), but the MoonDogs scored four unanswered runs to win the game.
Mankato took the lead in the top of the first inning after drawing two walks with two outs. Ryan Kreidler (UCLA) hit an RBI double to center field, which scored Kyle Cueller (UCLA) from second base.
Zach Zubia (Texas) tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run to right field, his 22nd of the season. The home run also drove in his 62nd run, breaking a single-season team record. Zubia now holds six team and two Northwoods League records.
After threatening in each of the first three innings, the Honkers took the lead with three runs on the three hits in the bottom of the fourth inning. With runners on second and third, Griffin Neuer (Bellarmine) reached on an infield hit to the second baseman, allowing Jordan Hart (Minnesota State-Mankato) to score. Two batters later, a fielder’s choice by Konnor Zickefoose (UC Irvine) brought in David Noworyta (Hawaii) from third base. An error on the throw to first base also allowed Neuer to score, giving the Honkers a 4-1 lead.
Michael Stryffeler (Lake Erie) pitched five innings, holding the MoonDogs to one run on two hits. He combined with Ryan Dorney (St. Martin’s) and Spencer Johnson (Wayne State) to throw six consecutive scoreless innings.
Mankato tied the game at 4-4 after scoring three runs on one hit in the top of the eighth inning. The MoonDogs drew five walks in the inning and also scored a run on a wild pitch.
Kenton Crews (Evansville) continued the MoonDogs comeback with a double to the left field corner with two outs in the ninth inning. He scored three batters later on a bases-loaded walk to give the MoonDogs the final lead.
Joey Gerber (Illinois) struck out all three batters he faced to close out the game and earn his fourth save of the season.
Naithen Dewsnap (CSU Bakersfield) earned the win (2-4) for the MoonDogs. He pitched one scoreless inning without giving up a hit while striking out two batters and walking one.
Garrett Cobb (Seminole State) took the loss (0-3) for the Honkers. He pitched one and one-third innings, giving up one run on two hits while striking out three batters and walking five.
The Honkers will finish the season at home on Sunday, August 13, against the Mankato MoonDogs. It will be Fan and Host Family Appreciation Day. Kids eat free on the Sports Deck and can run the bases after the game. It is also Slider’s Kids Club Day. Gates open at noon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Manny Armendariz (Doane) is scheduled to pitch for the Honkers. Armendariz is 4-2 this season with a 3.61 ERA in 47.1 innings. Caleb Fernolz (St. Thomas) is scheduled to pitch for the MoonDogs. Fernolz is 0-1 this season with a 3.95 ERA in 13.2 innings.
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, more than 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.