New Honkers Down Mankato
After a four-day break in the schedule, the Honkers were back in action and the win column, defeating Mankato 4-3. Rochester’s lineup featured eight players making their team debuts, and the fresh faces did not disappoint.
The game began a pitcher’s duel between Brendan Knoll (Minnesota St, Mankato) and Jonathan Clark. (San Jose St.) Both offenses were held off the scoreboard through the first three innings, before Adam Fogel (Hawaii) broke the tie with a booming home run to left center in the fourth. The lead would not hold for long, however, JJ Cruz (Cal St. Fullerton) set the table in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff single, and Hank Bard (McLennan) gave the Honkers their first lead on a two-run homer to right center that bounced high off the Mayo Field scoreboard.
The Honkers held the lead until the seventh, when a Dustin Demeter (Hawaii) double tied the ballgame scoring Evan Berkey (Cal St Bakersfield) from first. Three batters later, Demeter would score on a passed ball to give the Moondogs the lead back.
Rochester’s two-run rally in the bottom of the inning proved to be the difference in the series opener. A Zack Raabe (Minnesota) single followed by a Mac Horvath (North Carolina) double put runners on second and third with one out. Jason Swan (Georgia Southern) tied the game with a sac fly and J.J. Cruz laced a clutch go-ahead single to give the Honkers the lead for good.
Jay Thompson (Georgia Southern) shut the door for the Rochester, tossing two scoreless innings and earning the save. Patrick Williams (Lipscomb) was the winning pitcher of record, with Marcus Krupke (Bethel) stranding a runner his 0.2 of work. All told, the Honkers bullpen combined for 3.2 innings of one-run ball.
Brendan Knoll pitched well in recording a no-decision, 5.1 innings, three hits, an earned run, and five strikeouts.
The win sees the Honkers’ record improve to 5-6 on the season and creates an opportunity for a series sweep. Rochester hosts Mankato at 6:35 tomorrow night from Mayo Field.
Nick DeLuca//Broadcasting and Media Relations intern