Honkers Fall to MoonDogs in Season Finale
Mankato, MN — All good things must come to an end, and the Honkers’ 2019 season ended with a 10-6 loss to the Mankato MoonDogs.
The two starting pitchers controlled the game in the first two innings as Rochester’ Evan Layne (Lake Erie College) and Mankato’ Eric Newman both retired the first six batters they faced.
The Flock got the scoring started in the top of the third inning when Mitchell Allen (New Mexico State) hit an RBI single and A.J. Miller followed with an RBI double to give the Honkers a 2-0 lead.
However, the MoonDogs responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third. Nick Novak drew an RBI walk and Michael Perez hit an RBI sac-fly to tie the game.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Rochester broke the tie in the top of the fifth inning when Ryan Wrobleski (Dallas Baptist) hit a solo home run which gave the Honkers a 3-2 lead.
Casey Nimmo (San Diego Mesa) came in to pitch the bottom of the fifth. Unfortunately, Mankato once again responded, but this time they took the lead by rattling off three runs.
Nick Novak scored on an error and Jake Moberg hit a two-run double to give the MoonDogs a 5-3 lead.
The Flock cut Mankato two-run lead in half in the top of the sixth inning when lead-off batter Zack Zalesky (Oregon State) hit a solo home run.
But the Honkers 5-4 deficit didn’t last long as reliever Ben Strassman (Rochester Community & Technical College) surrendered three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Mankato’s Cuba Bess hit a two-run home run and Josh Elvir followed with a solo home run to give the MoonDogs a 8-4 lead.
Evan Berkey (Cal State-Bakersfield) scored on a wild pitch in the top of the seventh inning to trim Mankato’s lead to 8-5.
In the top of the eighth inning, Aaron Simmons (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) hit the Flock’s third solo home run of the day to bring Rochester within two runs, 8-6.
But that’s as close as the Honkers world get as the Flock’s usually dominant closer Keon Taylor (Georgetown College) allowed James Gargano to score on a wild pitch and Josh Elvir hit an RBI sac-fly to increase the MoonDogs’ lead to 10-6 in the bottom of the eighth.
Rochester got two runners on base in the top of the ninth, but Mankato closer Jack Pilcher struck out Aaron Simmons to end the game and both team’s seasons.
The 10-6 loss drops the Honkers’ second-half to 20-17, four games behind the first-place St. Cloud Rox. The Flock’s overall record is 38-34.
Ryan Wrobleski earned Profile Sanford Player of the Game honors for going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI.
Thank you all for making 2019 a great season for the Rochester Honkers!