Mankato, MN — The Honkers needed a win to stay in the playoff hunt and thanks to six early runs and solid pitching, they got a 6-2 victory over the MoonDogs.
Mankato struck first when Nick Novak drew a walk, stole second base, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch.
Vinny Tosti (Oregon) quickly tied the score at 1-1 with an RBI single in the top of the second inning.
Rochester starter Marty Tolson Jr. (Maryland-Eastern Shore) got into a jam in the bottom of the second, but his defense turned a double play to help keep the game tied.
The Flock took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third inning when Tristan Peterson (New Mexico State) laced an RBI single into the outfield.
The very next batter, Austin Schell (Golden West College), hit a double down the third base line to score Peterson and give the Honkers a two-run lead.
Schell later scored on an A.J. Miller (Oregon) RBI single to make Rochester’s lead 4-1.
The Flock continued to batter MoonDogs’ starter Jaxen Passino with two more runs in the top of the fourth inning.
Both runs came off the bat of Schell who hit a single with the bases loaded to bring home Kyler McMahan (Oregon State) and Andy Armstrong (Oregon State). The Flock’s lead now stood at 6-1.
Tolson Jr. saved his best work for last as he retired six of the eight batters he faced throughout the fourth and fifth inning.
He left the game following the fifth inning having given up only five hits and one run.
In the sixth inning, Mike Lopez (Cal State-San Marcos) came in to pitch for the Honkers and he gave up a solo home run to his first batter, Michael Perez, which trimmed the Flock’s lead to 6-2.
However, after that, he settled down and didn’t allow another hit. He did give up a walk to Sean Ross, but Evan Berkey (Cal State-Bakersfield) turned an unassisted double play to end the inning.
Anthony Rodriguez (Monroe College) pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
Mitchell Allen (New Mexico State) came in to pitch the eighth inning, but he got into a intense situation after giving up two singles and a walk to load the bases.
Fortunately, he got Adan Fernandez to hit into a 4-6-3 double play to keep the score at 6-2.
After a 1-2-3 top of the ninth for the Honkers, Rochester closer Keon Taylor (Georgetown College) came in to seal the deal.
He surrendered a single to Cuba Bess, otherwise Taylor had a perfect ninth inning as he retired the three other batters he faced to give the Flock a 6-2 road win over the MoonDogs.
Rochester’s second half record improves to 11-10 and their overall record moves to 29-27.
Austin Schell was named the Profile Sanford Player of the Game for going 2-5 with 3 RBI.
The Honkers finish their road trip with two games against the La Crosse Loggers. The Saturday, July 26, game starts at 6:05 p.m. First pitch for the Sunday, July 27, game is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.