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DOMINANT BULLPEN LEADS HONKERS TO DOUBLEHEADER SPLIT

ST. CLOUD, MINN – The Rochester Honkers defeated the St. Cloud Rox in the nightcap of their day-night doubleheader 8-6 on Wednesday night at Joe Faber Field. 

The Honkers took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. Nico Regino (Charleston Southern) drove in the first run of the game with an RBI double. Joe Longo (Michigan) made it 2-0 with a bases loaded walk. Nate Chester (Mississippi State) drove in the third run of the inning with a sac-fly to left field and the fourth run scored on an error on a ground ball off the bat of Alex Ritzer (UNC). 

St. Cloud responded in the bottom of the inning. They got a run back on a sac-fly off the bat of Ethan Mann (Dallas Baptist). The Honkers got that run right back in the second on a RBI single from Michael Brown (Washington). St. Cloud made it 5-2 in the bottom of the second after John Nett (St. Cloud State) drove in a run with an RBI double. The scoring halted until the fourth when the Rox tied the game. Garrett Pennington (Wichita State) led off the inning with a solo home run. St. Cloud scored two more on an Ike Mezzenga (North Iowa Area CC) RBI single and a double play off the bat of Brice Matthews (Nebraska). 

Rochester re-took the lead in the top of the sixth. After the first two batters reached on walks AJ Campbell (Frostburg State) got a bunt down in front of the plate. The first baseman O’Neill Burgos (Southern) raced towards it and tried to throw out the lead runner at third but the throw was wild. It rolled into foul territory allowing the Honkers to retake the lead 6-5. Rochester scored two more in the inning on a wild pitch and a Dario Gomez (Nevada) sac-fly. 

After Honkers starter Troy Wentworth (Point Loma Nazarene) left the game after four innings the Honkers bullpen was terrific. The combination of Tim Sabo (Florida Southern), Jacob Mead (Finlandia), Max Meyer (Indiana State), Cole Mahlum (Dakota County Tech), and Thaniel Trumper (Kansas) combined to give up just one unearned run on two hits, striking out eight. 

Tim Sabo stranded two on base in the fifth, Jacob Mead struck out a batter in a scoreless sixth, Max Meyer struck out two in a 1-2-3 seventh and Cole Mahlum pitched the eighth. The Honkers had a scare in that inning as St. Cloud scored an unearned run but with two on and two outs Dario Gomez made a diving catch in left center field to end the inning. Thaniel Trumper entered in the bottom of the ninth and shut it down, striking out the side in order. 

With the win the Honkers snap their three game losing streak and get back to .500 in the second half at 9-9. They begin a series against the Mankato MoonDogs Thursday night at Mayo Field. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.