St. Cloud, MN – Trying to catch first-place St. Cloud, the Honkers needed to rack up as many wins as possible against the Rox, but St. Cloud proved why they’re a first-place team by beating Rochester 8-0 on Sunday, August 4.
St. Cloud’s offense immediately got its first run when Hance Smith deposited the first pitch he saw over the center field wall.
The Rox tacked on another first-inning run against Rochester starter Mike Lopez (Cal State-San Marcos) when Jack Kelly hit an RBI single.
A 2-0 lead was plenty for St. Cloud’s starting pitcher Nick Desalvo as he brought his “A+” game. He retired the first nine batters he faced.
Rochester got their first hit in the top of the fourth inning when Evan Berkey (Cal State-Bakersfield) lined a double down the third-base line.
However, Desalvo bounced back by retiring the next three batters to strand Berkey on second base.
St. Cloud added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth when Ulises Caballero and Luke Ira hit back-to-back RBI singles.
Now up 4-0, Desalvo once again retired the first three batters he faced in the fifth inning.
The Honkers finally got multiple hits in an inning in the sixth when Aaron Simmons (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) and Henry George (Minnesota-Duluth) hit back-to-back singles.
Unfortunately, Desalvo got Berkey to hit a fielder’s choice and retired Kyler McMahan (Oregon State) and Andy Armstrong (Oregon State) to end the inning.
The Rox struck again in the bottom of the sixth inning when Ira hit another RBI single, Smith hit an RBI sacrifice-fly, and Gus Steiger made it three straight runs with an RBI single.
However, the 7-0 lead didn’t last long as St. Cloud made it 8-0 in the seventh inning when Ben Carew lined an RBI single into the outfield.
Rochester faced a new pitcher, Justin Wick, in the eighth inning, but he followed Desalvo’s lead by allowing just one base runner, George, who reached on a walk.
Ben Strassman (Rochester Community & Technical College) provided one of the Honker’s few highlights when he retired the side in the bottom of the eighth inning.
In the top of the ninth inning, Wick gave up walks to McMahan and Ryan Wrobleski (Dallas Baptist), but he didn’t surrender any hits and struck out A.J. Miller (Oregon) to end the game.
The 8-0 loss decreases the Honker’s second-half record to 16-15, five and a half games behind the first-place Rox with six games left in the season.
Henry George was named the Profile Sanford Player of the Game for going 1-2 with a walk.
The Flock return home on Monday, August 5, when they host the Willmar Stingers at 6:35 p.m. Rochester’s final home game is Wednesday, August 7, when they conclude their series against the 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.