ROCHESTER, MINN – The Rochester Honkers defeated the Mankato MoonDogs 8-7 in one of the Northwoods League’s Games of the Year on Thursday night at Mayo Field.
It started with Sam Hanson (Saint John’s) getting the start for Rochester. After escaping trouble in the first he was unable to do so in the second. He gave up a three spot to Mankato on an RBI groundout off the bat of Zach Stroh (Butler Central) and two more due to a Boston Merila (Minnesota) two-run single.
However, the story all night was the Honkers resiliency. Jakob Guardado (Pasadena City College) was terrific out of the bullpen. He relieved Hanson and kept the Honkers in the game. Guardado threw three and a third scoreless innings, keeping the MoonDogs lineup at bay. That allowed the Honkers to get back in it. They got on the board in the fourth on a Nico Regino (Delta College) RBI double and tied it in the fifth after back-to-back RBI groundouts by Michael Carico (Davidson) and Will Asby (San Francisco).
It didn’t take long for Mankato to retake the lead. Facing Cam Holycross (Indiana State) the MoonDogs grabbed a two run lead again, scoring on a wild pitch and Charles McAdoo (San Jose State) sac fly. Rochester’s resiliency showed up again though, as they tied it in the bottom of the seventh. Nate Chester (Mississippi State) lined an RBI double down the line, bringing in Michael Carico. Dominick McIntyre (North Alabama) fired the ball in from right field but it was wide, resulting in Joe Longo (Michigan) scoring the tying run.
But just like they did in the sixth, the MoonDogs retook the lead in the next half inning. With the bases loaded and one out Sean Ross (Indiana State) gave Mankato a 7-5 lead with a two run single. But Rochester just wasn’t going to go away. They scored three in the bottom of the eighth. The Honkers made it 7-6 on an error by Nathan Ebersole (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) at second. With two outs and the tying run on third Michael Carico came through with an RBI double to make it 7-7. The next batter, Will Asby, hit a pop up to shallow left field. However, there was miscommunication between Charles McAdoo and Orlando Salinas (Kansas State) at third and short. The ball dropped, Carico raced home, and just like that the Honkers had their first lead of the night, 8-7.
In the ninth the MoonDogs had the tying run in scoring position but Thaniel Trumper (Doane) struck out Dominick McIntyre swinging to end a wild one at Mayo Field.
The Honkers win a classic 8-7, improving to 4-6 and snapping a two game losing streak. After a day off on Friday, Rochester hosts the Minnesota Mud Puppies on Saturday night. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. from Mayo Field. AJ Campbell (Frostburg State) makes the start for the Honkers.