WATERLOO, IOWA — In a game that saw four lead changes, the Rochester Honkers (6-24) fell just short in a twelve-inning marathon against the Waterloo Bucks (23-12) in the first game of a six-game series between the two Minnesota-Iowa Pod foes, 9-8.
With the winning run at third and one out in the inning, a ground ball was hit sharply to Honkers shortstop Robert Moore (Arkansas) who came up firing to the plate. But, the throw was offline, allowing Charley Hesse (North Dakota State) to slide in safely to give Waterloo its seventh consecutive win against Rochester.
The Honkers jumped out to an early one-run advantage after Aaron Simmons (Wisconsin-Stevens Point) sent a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center to score Bryce Begell (Sacramento City College), who reached on a double to lead off the third.
Waterloo was quick to respond, as power-hitting first baseman Peyton Williams (Iowa) reminded Rochester how dangerous he can be by giving the Bucks a 2-1 advantage on a two-run home run over the center-field fence.
The Team in Teal jumped back ahead in the top of the fourth with a three-run inning, started by a Steven Moretto (Sacramento State) double. Moretto crossed the plate when Williams botched a ball at first base to tie the game at two. Taison Corio (Cal Poly) added more offense with a two-run double that was roped down the right-field line to give Rochester a 4-2 advantage.
Honkers starting pitcher Tanner Cunha (Nevada) pitched well against Waterloo for the second time in as many starts. Though the Wolfpack lefty didn’t stretch himself into the eighth like he did against the Bucks last week, Cunha worked into the sixth with relative ease. He ran into trouble after loading the bases with one out in the inning and hit Hesse to bring a run home before he was pulled. Waterloo would tack on one more in the inning when Evan Gray (Arkansas) walked a run home, but the Honkers escaped the sixth frame with a 5-4 lead thanks to a run-scoring swinging bunt single by Moore in the top half.
Rochester added to its lead in the seventh when Logan Sanders (Pima CC) dropped a bloop single into right to plate Ty Hamilton (Wisconsin-La Crosse), making it 6-4.
The Bucks took advantage of some Rochester miscues in the eighth, adding a pair of runs on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to tie the game at six.
After scoreless ninth and tenth innings, each team plated a run in the 11th before the Honkers scratched across one more in the top of the 12th frame. Hesse tapped into a fielder’s choice, advanced to second on a wild pitch and stole third before sliding home safely to give Waterloo the 9-8 victory.
Sanders recorded a two-hit, one RBI night in the loss. The Tucson, Ariz. native now has a four-game hitting streak and has driven in a run three of his last four games.
Begell also tallied a pair of hits, and turned in his a double for his second straight game against Waterloo.
Hamilton, despite not recording a hit on the night, collected his first two RBIs of the season.
Rochester returns to Mayo Field tomorrow night for the first of two home games against the Bucks before returning to Waterloo on Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CST, with Honkers Pregame Live presented by Rochester Toyota slated to begin at 6:30. Catch all the action on portal.stretchinternet.com/nwlhonkers with Simon Williams on the call.
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