ROCHESTER, MINN – In a game that lasted three hours and 34 minutes the Rochester Honkers walked-off the Willmar Stingers 6-5 in 12 innings at Mayo Field.
In his first start in 11 days Jakob Guardado (Pasadena City) didn’t have his best command. He walked the first three batters he faced, two of them coming around to score on a Brett Bateman (Minnesota) two run double. However, Guardado was able to hold the Stingers to just two runs in a 31 pitch first inning. He settled down in the second and third before walks bit him again in the fourth. After back-to-back walks Nick Terrell (Ripon College) brought both of them home on another two run double for Willmar.
The Stingers took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth where the Honkers started their comeback. They put up a run in the fourth and fifth on a Michael Brown (Washington) ground out and a steal of home from Tyler White (Long Beach State). Rochester tied the game with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the sixth. Carson Stevens (Cal Poly) made it a one run game with a run scoring double and White tied the game with an RBI ground out.
The scoring stopped until the 10th inning when all-stars on both squads delivered key RBI. Drey Dirksen (Augustana) gave Willmar a 5-4 lead by driving in the free runner with a sac fly but the Honkers all-star, Nico Regino (Charleston Southern), tied it with an RBI single. Neither team could bring in the free runner in the 11th and the Stingers couldn’t in the top of the 12th. That gave the Honkers a chance to win it and they did exactly that. With the bases loaded Dario Gomez (Nevada) won it for Rochester with a walk-off single down the right field line.
The Honkers take game one from Willmar 6-5 and couldn’t have done it without their bullpen. In relief of Jakob Guardado the Honkers relief corps of Kevin Dowdell (West Virginia), AJ Campbell (Frostburg State), Troy Wentworth (UC Irvine) and Sebastian Mejia (Texas A&M Corpus Christi) didn’t allow an earned run over eight innings. Mejia ended up getting the win, his second of the summer.
The Honkers improve to 7-4 in the second half and are just one game back of the Stingers and Rox for first place in the second half Great Plains West standings. Nate Hansen (San Joaquin Delta College) will get the ball for Rochester on Friday night as they look for the series sweep.