Rochester, MN. – The Honkers made the 702 fans who braved the inclement weather happy by grinding out a 1-0 win over the Waterloo Bucks in a rain-shortened five-and-a-half-inning game on Friday, July 5.
Rochester’s starter Evan Layne (Lake Erie College) got off to a rough start as Waterloo got back-to-back singles from Bennett Hostetler and Patrick Ferguson to put runners on the corners with only one out in the first inning. Fortunately, Layne got out of the scoring threat by getting his first strikeout and inducing a groundout.
After a quiet bottom half of the first, the Bucks once again got a good scoring opportunity in the second inning. This time, it was Matt Campos who hit a single and reached second base on an error. He later advanced to third base on a balk, but Layne left him stranded there by getting out of the inning with his second strikeout of the night.
Waterloo’s starting pitcher Drew Irvine retired the side in the bottom of the second inning.
Layne responded by having his own 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third.
The Honkers got their first runner into scoring position in the third inning when Kyler McMahan (Oregon State) drew a walk and Berkey hit his second single. However, on a double-steal attempt, Berkey was thrown out at second base to end the threat.
Layne allowed one hit in the top of the fourth, but that runner was picked off on a great throw by Honkers’ catcher Logan Denholm (California-Davis).
Rochester got the first run of the game in the bottom half of the fourth when Andy Armstrong (Oregon State) led-off the inning by hitting a 345-foot solo home run over the left field.
Waterloo came storming in the top of the fifth by getting two great scoring opportunities. The first came when Matt Campos hit a triple into right field that hit the top of the wall, missing a home run by inches. Then, Bryce Wooldridge tried a safety squeeze, but Layne got to the bunt quickly and threw it to Denholm who tagged Campos out at home.
The second scoring threat occured when Tony Jenkins drew a walk which advanced Wooldridge to second base. Then, both base runners moved 90 feet closer to home on a wild pitch. Thankfully, Layne got an inning-ending groundout to keep the Bucks scoreless.
The Honkers responded with their own scoring threat in the bottom of the fifth inning when Vinny Tosti (Oregon) and A.J. Miller (Oregon) each drew a walk and then they both advanced to the next base on a wild pitch. But Irvine got his fourth strikeout of the night to end the inning.
Keon Taylor (Georgetown College) relieved Layne in the top of the sixth inning. He showed why he’s an All-Star by striking out two batters and retiring the side.
Then the rain that had been coming down most of the game became unbearable and a 30-minute rain delay was called. However, after 30 minutes, it was still raining so the game was called and the Honkers were declared the winners.
Armstrong was honored as the Profile Sanford Player of the Game for hitting the game-winning RBI.
Layne was named the winning pitcher, while Taylor earned the save.
The Honkers’ second-half record improves to 2-1 and their overall record is now 20-18.
Rochester plays one more game against Waterloo on Saturday, July 6, at 6:05 p.m. Following that series, the Honkers continue their homestand against the Thunder Bay Border Cats beginning on Sunday, July 7. First pitch is scheduled for 1: 05 p.m.
Season tickets and new all-you-can-eat ticket packages are available for purchase right now at www.RochesterHonkers.com or by calling the Honkers front office at 507-289-1170.
The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 26th season, the Northwoods 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, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). 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.