Honkers Strike Big In The First To Lead Them To A Victory
Rochester, MN — The Honkers got a comfortable lead from their offense and rode great pitching to a 6-2 win over the Mankato MoonDogs in front of 1,074 fans on Sunday, June 23.
Rochester starting pitcher Ryan Middendorf (Lake Erie College) started the game on a high note for the Honkers by preventing the MoonDogs from getting anything going in the first inning.
Ryan Ober (Oregon State) got the Honkers’ offense going in a big way by smashing a three-run home run over the left field fence to give Rochester an early 3-0 lead.
But the Honkers weren’t done yet. Mitchell Allen (New Mexico State) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Aaron Simmons (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) added an RBI single to give Rochester a 5-0 lead after just one inning.
After a scoreless second inning, the MoonDogs’ offense got their first scoring threat in the third inning. First, Damon Maynard got an RBI hit, then Cuba Bess hit a sacrifice-fly to make the score 5-2.
Middendorf bounced back by holding Mankato scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning.
The Honkers added an insurance in the sixth when Andy Armstrong hit an RBI single to put Rochester up 6-2.
Middendorf once again kept the MoonDogs scoreless in the seventh inning. He finished his night with six strikeouts, five hits and two earned runs in seven innings of work.
After Rochester was held scoreless in the top of the eighth, Mike Lopez (Cal State-San Marcos) came in to pitch the eighth and ninth inning for the Honkers. He allowed just one base runner, which came on a walk, and struck out three batters to make the 6-2 lead the final score.
The victory improves the Honkers’ record to 16-11, just a half-game out of first place after Willmar lost to St. Cloud.
Ober was named for Profile Sanford Player of the Game for his game-winning three-run home run.
The Honkers don’t have a game on Monday, June 24, as the whole league takes the day off. On Tuesday, Rochester has a chance to move into first place in the Great Plains West division as they head to Willmar to play the Stingers. They finish up their series against Willmar on Wednesday, June 26.