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Published On: June 18th, 2023

The Rochester Honkers (11-8) were shut out by the Minot Hot Tots (4-13) 4-0 in an embarrassing fashion. The Flock has lost six of their last seven games as the offense slumped in this contest.

In the previous contest against Waterloo, Rochester left 15 men on base, and that was a problem again tonight as the Honkers stranded ten total base runners. That issue began in the first inning.

Starting pitcher Cole Mahlum (Dakota County Technical College) quickly retired the first two batters, but then an error and two singles loaded the bases. He retired Ryan Recio (Seminole State) for the final out of the inning and stranded all three runners.

In the home half of the inning, Paul Schoenfeld (Colorado Mesa) singled and promptly stole second. The next two batters were retired, and then Nico Regino (Charleston Southern) was hit by a pitch.

This scenario would have been the perfect time to build momentum against a seemingly inferior team, but Ian Daugherty (Oklahoma State) flew out to end the inning. Both teams were scoreless in the second, but Minot scored in the third to take a 1-0 lead.

The Honkers had a chance to even the score with two on and one out in the bottom of the third, but Regino grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Minot’s starting pitcher, Paxton Miller (University of Mary), was nearly unhittable and continued to baffle Rochester’s hitters until Kade Benavidez (New Mexico State) took over in the 6th. Benavidez went three innings and allowed one hit while not giving up a run.

Minot extended their lead in the seventh inning as they pushed four runs across using a combination of consecutive base hits and well-timed small ball.

A few bright spots in an overall disappointing day included Michael Banderas (San Joaquin Delta College) pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief to close out the game and Brendan O’Sullivan (UNLV) having a phenomenal day at shortstop in his first game of the season.

Minot brought in Noah Miller (McPherson) to close the game, but he ran into trouble recording the final three outs.

Petey Craska (Georgia Tech) drew a one-out walk, and Logan Mock (Southern Indiana) was hit by a pitch. After Tyler White (Sacramento State) flew out, Ben North (Creighton) pinch-hit for Alec Gomez (Orange Coast College) and worked a walk.

This brought Kyle Fossum (Washington) to the plate representing the tying run. Earlier in the game, Fossum hit a deep fly ball to center field that Damone Hale (New Mexico State) tracked down and ultimately caught before banging into the wall.

Fossum and Miller battled before a weak grounder to second ended the game. The Honkers’ struggles continued, but with Eau Claire losing, the team remains ahead in the Great Plains East by a single game.

The Honkers are back at it on Sunday against the Hot Tots as they try to split the series. The first pitch is at 5:05 p.m.

The Rochester Honkers began their 30th season of play on May 29th. Keep up with the team on social media by following them on Twitter (@RochHonkers) and Instagram (@honkersbaseball) and like the Honkers on Facebook at Rochester Honkers Baseball Club. Interact on social by using the hashtag #FunForTheWholeFlock!

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