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Published On: June 23rd, 2023

The Rochester Honkers (14-12) are the lowest in the standings as they have been all season after losing 3-2 vs the Eau Claire Express (13-11) in a walk-off loss on a Friday night at Carson Park. Rochester is now tied for second place in the Great Plains East – they sit fourth on percentage points.

It was the second walk-off loss of the season for the Honkers, the previous in a 9-8 loss vs the Duluth Huskies (14-10) last week. Tonight, the same as the matchup vs Duluth, the game was tied after eight innings.

The visitors struck first, scoring 2 runs in the fourth inning. Petey Craska (Georgia Tech) slid headfirst into home plate to score the first run on a wild pitch and Tyler White (Sacramento State) followed it up with an RBI single to score Ian Dougherty (Oklahoma State).

Eau Claire, who moved to 8-3 at home, responded in the home half of the inning on an RBI double from Rayth Petersen (Illinois-Chicago). That was the first of two runs surrendered by starter Cole Mahlum (Dakota County Technical College), as he went 5.1 IP allowing the two runs on five hits.

The Express tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning on a solo homerun from Nathan Witte (Illinois-Chicago), his first of the season. 

The game would stay deadlocked until the walk-off hit in the ninth inning on the back of strong relief appearances from both bullpens. Corbin Barker (UC Riverside) did not allow a hit and struck out four in 2.2 innings. Michael Trausch (Central Arizona) went 4.2 innings scoreless after starter Lance Lauve (Southeastern Louisiana) lasted just four innings.

In the top of the ninth inning with two outs and two runners on, Ben North (Creighton) hit a sharp ground ball that appeared to hop over third base in fair territory. It was called foul, and he popped out two pitches later.

After a lead-off double from Petersen in the ninth inning, Cole Conn (Illinois-Chicago) delivered the game-winning single into center field off of Greyson Christian (Northeastern State) (0-1). Tanner Sagouspe (Cal Poly) (1-0) was credited with the win after retiring North.

The Honkers host the Willmar Stingers (19-5) for a weekend series beginning on Sat., June 24. Scheduled first pitch time is 6:35 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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