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Published On: March 2nd, 2021

ROCHESTER, MINN — The Rochester Honkers, proud five-time champions of the Northwoods League, are excited to begin the unveiling process of their 2021 roster in preparation for their 28th season in the league this summer.

Three Cal State Fullerton Titans will make the trek north to join the Honkers this summer. Left-handed pitcher Sam Gomez, infielder JJ Cruz and outfielder Miguel Ortiz will each don Rochester uniforms for the 2021 summer season.

Gomez, pitching in his first season for the Titans, is no stranger to the SoCal area. A native of Hacienda Heights, the current sophomore turned in two solid seasons at Citrus College in Glendora, Calif. before transferring to Cal State Fullerton. In 2020, his second season as an Owl, Gomez sported an impressive 1.37 ERA with 54 strikeouts over 39.1 innings pitched before the season was shut down due to COVID-19. The left-hander allowed just six extra-base hits and held opposing hitters to a .169 batting average against in seven appearances, three of which were starts. Gomez has appeared twice for Cal State Fullerton so far in 2021, tossing two strong innings and striking out three over two outings (at San Diego and vs. Utah).

Cruz, a left-handed-hitting middle infielder, will come to Rochester with just over a season’s collegiate experience under his belt. The La Palma, Calif. Native appeared in just nine games as a freshman for the Titans in the 2020 season, but hit .200 with three runs and three RBIs. Prior to his time at CSUF, Cruz played varsity baseball for four years at Gahr High School in Cerritos, Calif., where he helped lead the Gladiators to four consecutive San Gabriel Valley League championships. He was named Freshman of the Year and San Gabriel Valley League Rookie of the Year, and eventually went on to hit for a .307 average as a senior.

Ortiz, an outfielder native to Kerman, Calif., will also bring just over one season of college experience to the Honkers. The right-handed hitter has yet to appear for the Titans in 2021, but played in 14 games for Fullerton in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. During that time, Ortiz hit .281 and drove in three runs while scoring eight times on his own. The graduate of Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif. recorded a solid game against San Francisco last season, going 2-for-3 with a double and a home run in an eventual 7-6 Titans loss. In 2020, Ortiz reached base in 11 of the 14 games he appeared in. Prior to his time in Fullerton, the outfielder hit for a collective .304 average over three varsity seasons at Buchanan, driving in 68 runs in 91 games played.

The Rochester Honkers enter their 28th season of play on May 31st on the road against the Eau Claire Express at 7:05 PM. Connect with the team on social media by liking them on Facebook at Rochester Honkers Baseball Club and following them on Twitter (@RochHonkers) and Instagram (@HonkersBaseball). Join the conversation by using the hashtag #UnlockTheFlock!