It took 13 more innings Monday, but the Honkers finally win on walkoff single

(Rochester, Minn.)–  After Sunday’s 16-inning marathon, it took the Honkers 13 more innings (and two cows) to defeat the Willmar Stingers on Monday night, 6-5.

In his second start against the Willmar Stingers and second start this season, Seth Holbert (Sam Houston State) was sensational. Holbert struck out 15 out of the 25 batters he faced in the game. He allowed two runs on four hits and walked none.

The 3-2 lead would last until Nick Rivera homered for a second time in the game for the Stingers, his third in the last two games. Rivera's blast came off reliever Reid Roper (Illinois) who came on in the ninth inning to try and record the save.

In the top of the 10th inning, Reid Roper allowed three straight singles before being lifted for reliever Nick Highberger (Creighton), who inherited the bases loaded. Highberger struck out the first batter he faced and nearly pitched out of the inning unscathed after he coaxed Reagan Fowler (Creighton) to ground a ball to shortstop Connor Schaefbauer (Minnesota). After a bobble, Schaefbauer was only able to putout the runner at second. Highberger avoided Rivera this time around in the order and intentionally walked him to load the bases for Casey Hughston (Alabama). Hughston singled to right field scoring the Stingers’ fifth run. And the Honkers trailed headed into the bottom of the 10th inning, 5-3.

Stingers reliever Garrett Anderson (Florida Gulf Coast) started the bottom of the 10th inning and preceded to walk the bases loaded after recording the inning’s first out. Anderson then hit Ryne Roper (Illinois) on the first pitch of his bases-loaded at-bat to get the Honkers within one. He was relieved by Brantley Claunch (North Alabama) and it was his turn to try and pitch out of a bases-loaded jam. Claunch recorded the second out of the inning before walking Schultz and tying the game at five.

Finally, in the bottom of the 13th inning, Schaefbauer led off the inning with a deep triple to center field. Casey Fletcher (Illinois) followed and singled over the head of first baseman Rivera and in four hours and 20 minutes, the Honkers defeat the Stingers, 6-5. Highberger would earn the win after pitching four innings of relief in extras, allowing no runs on just two hits.

Earlier in the game, the 20th annual cow milking contest was held, sponsored by the American Dairy Association, Eastwood Bank and KROC AM.  Honkers manager Matt Bowman defeated Stinger skipper Drew Saberhagen by a few ounces.

Today, the Honkers travel to Eau Claire to take on the Express for a 7:05 p.m. start. Blake Quinn (Fresno State) will start for the Honkers. (The cows returned to the Sax farm and Towerville Dairy.) Rochester returns home Wednesday to play Eau Claire again for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. For ticket information, visit rochesterhonkers.com.

Courtesy: Andy Sroka and Rich Peterson