The Rochester Honkers (4-1) entered their duel on ‘Rivalry Night’ vs. the Mankato MoonDogs (2-3) leading the Northwoods League in team ERA at 1.75. That number decreased tonight as four Honkers scattered four hits across nine innings in a narrow one-run victory in game three of a five-game home stand.
Once again, the story of the game was Rochester’s pitching. For the fourth time in five games, the Honkers’ starter went at least five innings allowing less than two runs. Tonight, Rochester featured their first lefty starter in the form of Matthew Brock (1-0) (San Joaquin Delta College).
Despite navigating a lineup featuring six right-handed bats, the southpaw excelled in his Honkers debut – going 5.2 innings and allowing just one unearned run while striking out five MoonDogs.
The trio of Tyler Frey (Wingate University), Will Kent (South Dakota State University), and Drew Fifer (Indiana State) put in a pristine shift in relief as each pitcher played a pivotal role in the Honkers’ second straight win.
Frey worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 6th inning while Kent was the eighth-inning setup man for Fifer. The Honkers’ closer, pitching for the second consecutive game, came in and struck out the side to finalize the win in front of an energized home crowd.
Dating back to after the first inning vs. Thunder Bay, the Honkers have allowed just one run in the last 26 innings.
Rochester scored their only two runs in the first inning after newcomer Chase Spencer (Air Force) and Jakob Guardado (Pasadena City College) recorded back-to-back hits to start the home half of the first. After Griffen Sotomayor (Washington State) struck out with the bases loaded and no outs, Jared Davis (TCU) recorded an RBI groundout, and Guardado scored on a throwing error from Joe Hauser (Minnesota), which would prove to be the difference in the game.
For the second straight game, Guardado was Rochester’s most productive hitter. The right fielder recorded another two-hit game, his third multi-hit game of the season.
Rochester will look to move to 5-1 and continue their early season success tomorrow in game two of the series vs. Mankato. The scheduled first pitch time is 6:35 p.m.