ROCHESTER, MINN – The Rochester Honkers used eight stolen bases and timely hitting to defeat the Eau Claire Express 8-6 on Friday night at Mayo Field.
Eau Claire took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a Joe Yorke (Cal Poly) sac fly but the Honkers scored the next five runs to take a 5-1 advantage. They scored two runs in the first after Tyler White (Long Beach State) singled, stole second, and scored on a Brendan O’Sullivan (Delta College) RBI single. Later in the inning Carson Stevens (Cal Poly) crossed the plate on an error. In the second White drove in a run with a double and O’Sullivan brought home his second run of the night with a sac fly. Rochester manufactured a run in the fifth. Menelik Israel (Duke) singled, stole second and third, and crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
After the fifth, Eau Claire came storming back. They scored a run in the sixth to pull within three runs and took the lead by scoring four runs on four hits in the seventh. Sam Kuchinski (Montevallo) tied the game with a two run single and the Express took the lead on a double play. However, the Honkers responded to Eau Claire’s response with a three spot of their own. Menelik Israel led of the bottom of the seventh with a walk and stole second, which allowed him to score the tying run on a Tyler White RBI single. With Alex Ritzer (Kirkwood CC) and White standing on second and first, they stole third and second. The double steal allowed both to cross the plate on a Carson Stevens two run double.
The Honkers stole eight bases in this game, three from Menelik Israel and Alex Ritzer and their aggressiveness paid off when it mattered most. After the Honkers took an 8-6 lead in the seventh, Tim Sabo (Florida Southern) struck out a pair in a scoreless eighth inning and Sam Hanson (St. John’s) recorded his first save of the summer by putting up a zero in the ninth.
With the win the Honkers have won three in a row and are 17-16 in the second half of the summer. They play their final game of the season Saturday night in Eau Claire, first pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.