La Crosse, WI — Leading 7-3 in the top of the sixth inning, the Flock looked to be on their way to a road sweep of the Loggers, but La Crosse score 11 unanswered runs to win 14-7 and earn a series split.
Rochester’s offense got off to a great start when lead-off batter Evan Berkey (Cal State-Bakersfield) was hit by a pitch, stole second base, and advanced to third base on a single by Kyler McMahan (Oregon State). Berkey ended up scoring on an error La Crosse left fielder Trey Torain.
Honker’s starter Dwayne Marshall (Maryland-Eastern Shore) also got off to an impressive by allowing just one base runner in the first inning.
The Flock’s batters continued to roll in the top of the second inning when Aaron Simmons (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) led-off the inning with a double and Ryan Ober (Oregon State) hit a single to put runners on the corners.
Zack Zalesky (Oregon State) then hit an RBI double which doubled the Honkers’ lead to 2-0.
A.J. Miller (Oregon) followed with an RBI single which brought home Ober to give Rochester a 3-0 lead. Zalesky then scored on a wild pitch to cap off a three-run second inning.
Marshall kept the Flock’s momentum going by retiring the side in the bottom of the second.
After a quiet top of the third for the Honkers, the Loggers got their first run on the board when Kyson Donahue scored on an error by Rochester second baseman McMahan.
La Crosse added two more runs when Ryan Holgate and Tony Bullard each hit an RBI single to bring the Loggers within one run, 4-3.
However, the Flock responded in the top of the fourth inning. Miller got the scoring started with one swing — a solo home run over the center field wall.
Following a triple by Berkey, McaMahan hit an RBI single to extend Rochester’s lead to 6-3.
Adam Fjerstad (Bethany Lutheran) came in to pitch the fourth inning for the Honkers. He allowed one single, but got a fielder’s choice and a fly-out to end the inning.
Neither team scored in the fifth, but the Flock got the scoring started again in the sixth inning when McMahan hit an RBI single to score Miller from second base.
Unfortunately, that 7-3 lead didn’t last long as the Loggers responded with four runs against Rochester reliever Marc Bisogno (Fordham) in the bottom of the sixth.
It started when Cody Jefferis hit an RBI groundout. JT Schwartz followed with an RBI double to make it 7-5.
The next batter, Tony Bullard, hit a two-run single to tie the game.
La Crosse reliever Hanan Mauldin retired the side in the top of the seventh inning.
The Loggers kept their offensive momentum going in the bottom of the seventh when Donahue broke the tie with an RBI single.
After Torain hit a single, Mitchell Allen (New Mexico State) relieved Bisogno.
But even a new pitcher couldn’t stop La Crosse as Allen’s first batter, Jefferis, hit a two-run single to give the Loggers’ a 10-7 lead. It might have been only one run if Honkers’ center fielder Vinny Tosti (Oregon) hadn’t committed an error.
The Loggers then broke the game wide open thanks to three RBI singles. Byrd, Schwartz, and Stinebiser each hit one to boost La Crosse’s lead to 13-7.
Zalesky led-off the top of the eighth inning with a single, but Loggers’ reliever Jack Filby retired the next three batters to keep Rochester at seven runs.
Casey Nimmo (San Diego Mesa) couldn’t stop the bleeding in the bottom of the eighth when Jefferis collected his third RBI of the night with a single that scored Donahue from second base.
Thankfully, Nimmo limited the damage to just one run so La Crosse led 14-7 after eight innings.
Filby once again proved to be an effective reliever as he retired the side in the top of the ninth to give the Loggers a 14-7 win.
The loss dropped the Flock’s second-half record to 12-11 and their overall to 30-28.
A.J. Miller was honored as the Profile Sanford Player of the Game for going 3-4 with a home run and 2 RBI.
The Honkers begin a five-game homestand on Monday, July 29, when they take on the Bismarck Larks at 6:35 p.m. Rochester follows that up with a double-header against the Larks on Tuesday, July 30. First pitch for game one of the double-header is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.