ST. CLOUD, MINN. — The Rochester Honkers (4-7) snatched a victory out of the hands of the St. Cloud Rox (6-7) on Saturday night, clinching the 8-6 win with a five-run eighth inning and superb late pitching.
Right fielder Ryan Wrobleski (Dallas Baptist) singled home two runs to knot the game at six apiece, and AJ Campbell (Frostburg State) provided the insurance with a run-scoring single in the ensuing at-bat. Stone Churby (Sacramento State) shut the door on St. Cloud with a two-inning save to seal it.
Stone Churby (18) delivers a pitch in a game at Mayo Field on July 16, 2020 against the Mankato MoonDogs. (Dave Tester/Rochester Honkers)
The scoring barrage was afforded by the top of the Honkers order. Down 6-3, Taison Corio (Cal Poly) walked to open the frame against right-handed pitcher Noah Myhre (Minot State), who had cruised through three innings of relief. Connor Denning (Campbell) laced a single to right to put two on with nobody out in the eighth. Tanner Tweedt (Sacramento City College) drew a one-out walk before a wild pitch in Robert Moore’s (Arkansas) at-bat plated Rochester’s fourth run.
Moore proceeded to walk, prompting the bases-loaded opportunity for Wrobleski. In Campbell’s at-bat, St. Cloud reliever Nate Pearson (Oklahoma State) allowed another wild pitch, which scored Moore from third. The following Campbell single gave the Honkers the 8-6 lead they would never relinquish.
Rochester starting pitcher Chris Stefl (St. John’s) turned in his strongest appearance of the 2020 Northwoods League season, tossing 2.1 innings and allowing four unearned runs. Stefl also worked out of two early jams that showed vast improvement from his previous two outings.
The Honkers bullpen held strong, highlighted by the Sacramento State duo of Jack Zalasky and Churby. Zalasky tossed a scoreless inning of relief, striking out one on just 10 pitches and earning the win. Churby picked up his first save of the season with a two-inning performance, allowing just one hit and striking out two. He also induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
Bryce Matthews (Arkansas) stayed hot, drilling a two-run home run to right field on the first pitch of his at-bat in the first inning, which gave Rochester an early lead. Denning and Campbell each tallied two-hit nights in the statement victory.
The Honkers return to Joe Faber Field tomorrow afternoon in search of a short-series sweep over the Rox. First pitch from St. Cloud is at 4:05 p.m., with Honkers Pregame Live presented by Rochester Toyota airing at 4:00 to get you set for the action.
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