Rochester, MN – The Honkers needed a win against first-place St. Cloud if they were going to surpass the Rox and reach the playoffs, but that wasn’t in the cards as St. Cloud raced out to a 5-0 lead and held on for a 5-3 win.
Rochester’s starting pitcher Marty Tolson Jr. (Maryland-Eastern Shore) took a 4-1 record into the game, but St. Cloud offense still managed to get two runners into scoring position in the first inning. Gus Steiger and Jordan Barth hit back to back singles and both stole their next base.
Steiger scored on an error by Honkers’ catcher Austin Schell (Golden West College) to give the Rox a 1-0 lead.
After a quiet second inning, Steiger and Barth once again propelled the St. Cloud to more runs. Steiger hit a single and Barth followed with a two-run home run.
Up 3-0, Rox’ starting pitcher Trevor Koenig continued to roll as he allowed just one hit throughout the fourth and fifth innings.
Unfortunately, St. Cloud continued to add to its lead in the bottom of the fifth. Garett Delano got it started with a single, Jack Kelly reached on an error by first baseman Tristan Peterson (New Mexico State), and Freddy Achecar loaded the bases with a single.
Ben Carew then came up and laced a two-run single into the outfield to give the Rox a 5-0 lead.
Anthony Rodriguez (Monroe College) relieved Tolson Jr. in the sixth inning and he pitched two nearly perfect innings, giving up just one walk in the seventh.
However, Koenig kept up his great performance by giving up only one hit in the seventh and eighth inning.
Casey Nimmo (San Diego Mesa) followed Rodriguez’s lead by not allowing any hits in a scoreless eighth inning.
Still down 5-0, the Honkers’ offense finally faced a new pitcher, Joey Stock, in the top of the ninth. Peterson led-off the inning with a single and advanced to second base on a passed ball.
Schell reached first base on an error by Rox’ third baseman Barth, Peterson scored, and Schell advanced to second base.
Down to their final out, Schell advanced to third base on a passed ball and Mitchell Allen (New Mexico State) reached first base on a single.
Schell scored to bring Rochester within three runs, 5-2. Aaron Simmons (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) drew a walk and Evan Berkey (Cal State-Bakersfield) also drew a walk to load the bases.
Kyler McMahan (Oregon State) drew the Honkers’ third straight walk to score Allen and just like that the Flock were down by just two runs, 5-3, with the bases still loaded.
But Blake Stelzer relieved Stock and he retired Andy Armstrong (Oregon State) to end the game.
The 5-3 loss drops the Honkers’ second half record to 16-14, five and a half games behind first-place St. Cloud.
McMahan was named the Profile Sanford Player of the Game for going 2-4 with an RBI and a walk.
The two-game series against the Rox concludes on Sunday, August 4, at 4:05 p.m. The Flock return home on Monday, August 5, when they host the Willmar Stingers at 6:35 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.