Mankato, MN — It doesn’t matter where they play, the Honkers keep winning. After winning their last two games in St. Cloud, the Flock started out their road series in Mankato with an 11-2 win against the MoonDogs.
It didn’t look like it would be such a convincing win in the bottom of the first inning when Mankato right fielder Josh Elvir hit an RBI single to give the MoonDogs an early 1-0 lead.
However, the momentum quickly changed in the top of the second inning when the Honkers reeled off 7 runs!
Following singles by Tristan Peterson (New Mexico State) and Austin Schell (Golden West College), Peterson scored Rochester’s first run by racing home on a wild pitch.
The next batter, Mitchell Allen (New Mexico State), hit a two-run double to give the Flock a 3-1 lead.
After Henry George (Minnesota-Duluth) and Evan Berkey (Cal State-Bakersfield) drew walks, Kyler McMahan (Oregon State) drew a bases-loaded walk to make Rochester’s lead 4-1.
Andy Armstrong (Oregon State) doubled the Honkers’ lead, from 4-1 to 7-1, with a three-run double.
The Flock’s starter Mike Lopez (Cal State-San Marcos) settled down in the bottom of the second inning by retiring three of the first four batters he faced.
Lopez continued to roll in the third and fourth inning by recording back-to-back 1-2-3 innings.
Rochester increased its lead to 10-1 in the top of the fifth inning when Allen hit an RBI double and George lined a two-run single into the outfield.
Lopez capped off his great pitching performance with his fourth straight 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Honkers tacked one more run in the top of the seventh inning when George hit an RBI single to give Rochester an 11-1 lead.
Adam Fjerstad (Bethany Lutheran) came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh for the Flock.
Fjerstad didn’t give up any hits, but Mankato managed to score its second run due to an error, balk, and two wild pitches.
Leading 11-2, relievers Micah Wallette (Golden West College) and Jeremiah Van De Steeg (Rochester Community & Technical College) pitched back-to-back 1-2-3 innings to seal the convincing win.
The 11-2 victory boosts Rochester’s second-half record to 20-16 and its overall record is now 38-33.
Lopez earned Profile Sanford Player of the Game honors for surrendering just two hits and one run in six innings.
The Flock concludes its series against the MoonDogs and season on Sunday, August 11, when they go for a sweep of Mankato at 3:05 p.m.