Rox Get Wild Walk-off Win
St. Cloud, Minn. – Coming into Saturday night’s game, St Cloud catcher Brendan Illies (North Carolina) had recorded two RBI in seven games this season.
On Saturday he drove in three runs and had perhaps the biggest hit of the season for the Rox, singling in the ninth giving the Rox (7-5) a 10-9 walk-off win over the Rochester Honkers (4-8).
The game was a back-and-forth affair all night with the Rox letting a four-run lead slip away twice throughout the course of the game.
The Rox had a slow start offensively at their home field, at least by their standards. It was the first time this season in which they did not score a run in the first inning of the game at the Rock Pile.
Instead, the bats got going in the third, when Mark Skonieczny (Illinois) scored on a wild pitch and Ben Petersen (North Dakota State) hit a two-run single picking up his team-best ninth and tenth RBI of the young season.
The Rox would add another run on a double-play in the fourth, but they saw the lead slip away over the next two innings, as the Honkers tied the score at four.
The St. Cloud offense roared back to life in the seventh, as Brett Pope (Western Carolina) drove in a run in his first game back in a Rox uniform. Back-to-back walks from Skonieczny and Drew Freedman (Wake Forest) helped drive in another run and loaded the bases. Illies then brought two runners home with a single, once again giving the Rox a four run lead.
Rochester answered by pushing five across in the top of the eighth, the most runs the Rox have allowed in an inning at home this season. In the bottom half of the frame, errors allowed Ricky Ramirez (McNeese State) to gain third base. Luke Ringhofer (South Dakota State) then hit a sacrifice fly bringing in the tying run.
Andrew Burnick (Penn) came in the top of the ninth and worked a scoreless inning, setting the Rox up for a potential walk-off win.
With one out in the home half of the final frame, Freedman drew a walk and advanced to second on a passed ball. Illies then stepped up to the plate and dropped a hit into left field, and Freedman raced around and beat the throw to the plate, and starting the celebration.
The Rox won their fourth straight game at home, and picked up their seventh win in their last eight games after dropping four straight to start the season.
Tonight’s game one St. Cloud Times Player of the Game was Brendan Illies. Illies went 3-for-5 at the plate, bringing in three runs including the game winner. For more coverage of the Rox during the 2016 season visit www.sctimes.com.
For more stats and information about the game, here is the boxscore
The Rox will return to Joe Faber Field on Sunday to take on the Duluth Huskies at 1:05 p.m. It’s Books and Baseball day at the Rock Pile with every child 5 and under receiving a free book.
Single game tickets can be purchased 24 hours a day at www.stcloudrox.com, by calling (320) 240-9798 or by visiting the Rox ticket office located at the Municipal Athletic Complex.
The St. Cloud Rox are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.stcloudrox.com