Rochester Drops Close One to Waterloo
Rochester, MN. – The Honkers got off to a fast start, but couldn’t hold onto the lead as they fell to the Waterloo Bucks 4-2 in front of 886 fans on Saturday, July 6.
Waterloo center fielder Trey Leonard got the scoring started before some fans had found their seats as he launched the second pitch from Rochester starter Mike Lopez (Cal State-San Marcos) over the right field fence to give the Bucks a quick 1-0 lead.
However, that lead didn’t last long, as the Honkers got a single from Evan Berkey (Cal State-Bakersfield) and a walk from Andy Armstrong (Oregon State) to put a runner in scoring position. Then, Kyler McMahan (Oregon State) lined a two-run double into right center field to give Rochester a 2-1 lead.
Lopez got into another tricky situation in the second inning when Matt Campos hit a double and Bryce Wooldridge hit a fielder’s choice and Campos ran into Berkey and was awarded third base on runner interference. Fortunately, Lopez picked off Wooldridge at first base to get the second out and induced a groundout to end the threat.
After both teams scored in the first inning, the Honkers once again repeated what the Bucks had just done when they got runners on the corners with only one out. Rochester made that happen by getting a single from Zack Zalesky (Oregon State) who then advanced to second on a groundout followed by a single from Vinny Tosti (Oregon). Unfortunately, the Honkers got the same outcome too as Waterloo’s starter Jack Parkinson got two quick outs to end the inning.
The Bucks tied the game in the top of the third inning when Blake Wagenseller hit an RBI single to score Dylan Phillips. Phillips used small ball to get to third base as he drew a walk and then stole two bases. Lopez allowed two more singles, but his defense backed him up when left fielder Tosti made a great throw to catcher Logan Denholm (California-Davis) who tagged Campos out at home to prevent any more runs.
After a quiet fourth inning, Mitchell Allen (New Mexico State) came into pitch for Rochester. Even a fresh arm couldn’t stop the Buck’s offense as they took back the lead when Bennett Hostetler advanced to third base on a sacrifice-fly and then scored on an RBI single by Alex Ronnebaum.
The past two innings the Honkers had only managed one base runner, but the bottom of the fifth was even worse as Parkinson had his lone 1-2-3 inning.
Allen gave up two singles in the top of the sixth and both runners advanced on a wild pitch, but he got Hostetler to hit a fly-out to keep the score 3-2 in favor of Waterloo.
Rochester made another pitching change in the top of the seventh as Logan Nissen (Bethany Lutheran) relieved Allen. He seemed to throw nothing but strikes as he retired the side in just nine pitches.
Ryan Ober (Oregon State) made a great defensive play in the top of the eighth. He fielded the ball with his bare hand and threw a laser to first base which was caught by Tristan Peterson (New Mexico State) just before the runner got there. It was the last out of the inning and it also prevented a Bucks’ runner from scoring from third base.
Waterloo added an insurance run in the ninth inning when Hostetler hit a solo home run to give them a 4-2 lead.
Zalesky led-off the ninth with a single which brought the tying run to the plate, but Bucks reliever Brett Lockwood got three straight outs to earn the save.
Rochester’s second half record is now 2-2 and their overall record drops to 20-19.
McMahan was honored as the Profile Sanford Player of the Game for bringing both of the Honkers’ runs.
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. The series finale starts at 6:35 p.m. on Monday, July 8.
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.