Honkers Fall By Giving Up Lead Late In The Game
Willmar, MN — After giving up only 9 runs in the previous four games, the Honkers’ pitching staff was bound to eventually start giving up more runs, but did they really all have to come in one game?
The Honkers fell to the Willmar Stingers 13-5 after a disastrous eighth inning saw them go from leading by one run to trailing by eight runs.
You would have never guessed that would be the final score after seeing Rochester get off to a great start in the first inning. Their first two runs came on a Tristan Peterson (New Mexico State) home run which also scored Evan Berkey (Cal State-Bakersfield). The Honker’s third run occurred when Ryan Wrobleski (Dallas Baptist) scored on Zack Zalesky (Oregon State) groundout and just like that the Honkers led 3-0.
Rochester’s starting pitcher David Lemasters kept the Honkers’ momentum going by not allowing any hits in his first two innings of work.
The Honkers added a fourth run in the third inning when Peterson led off the inning with his second homer of the day.
Lemasters gave up his first hit, a single to Cal Elvers, in the fourth inning, but he responded right away by inducing the next batter into a groundout to end the inning.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Honkers added another run when Ryan Ober (Oregon State) hit his first homer of the season and the Honkers third homer of the game to give Rochester a 5-0 lead.
Lemasters gave up another hit in the sixth inning, but once again he immediately extinguished any chance of a Willmar scoring threat. This time, he did it by retiring three straight batters.
That would be the end of Lemaster’s night. He pitched six shutout innings, earned six strikeouts, and allowed just two hits.
Marc Bisogno (Fordham) came in to pitch the seventh inning and the Stingers’ offense was finally able to get some runs on the board. Justin King got their first run of the game with an RBI double. Following a Tyler Bosetti single, King capitalized on a Honkers error by scoring from third base to make the score 5-2. Another defensive lapse allowed Willmar to score two more runs in the seventh before Bisogno got his first strikeout to end the inning and keep Rochester in the lead, albeit by a much smaller margin, 5-4.
The Honkers got runners on third and second base in the eighth inning, but weren’t able to bring either of them home.
Mike Lopez (Cal State-San Marcos) came in to pitch the eighth inning. Unfortunately, that’s when things started to fall apart for the Honkers. A walk, single, and hit by pitch loaded the bases for the Stingers and ended Lopez’s night.
The usually dependable Marty Tolson Jr. (Maryland-Eastern Shore) entered the game for Rochester. However, this proved to be his worst game of the season by far.
It all started with him throwing a game-tying wild pitch. Then, he gave up an RBI single to Noah Haupt which gave the Stingers a 6-5 lead. The very next batter, Sam Baier, hit a two-run double to give Willmar a three-run lead.
Next, Daniel Walsh drew a walk to once again load the bases. Tolson Jr. got the second out of the inning via his first strikeout, but the Stingers got an RBI walk to a two-run single to extend their lead to 11-5. Lastly, King hit a two-run double for the Stingers’ eighth and ninth run of the inning.
Tolson Jr. finally got the Honkers out of the eighth by striking out Brandon Bohning, the thirteenth batter that inning.
Berkey doubled to lead-off the ninth inning, but the Honker’s best power hitters, Peterson and Wrobleski, struck out to end the game.
The loss dropped Rochester’s record to 14-10; 2.5 games behind first-place Willmar.
Christopher Peres became the winning pitcher, while Lopez was the losing pitcher.
Peterson earned Profile Sanford Player of the Game honors for hitting two home runs and recording 3 RBI.
The good news is that today’s game is just one game and Rochester will have a chance to split the series tomorrow when they play Willmar at 7:05 p.m.
After that, the Honkers head to Mankato to take on the MoonDogs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.