A beautiful day at Mayo Field ended in heartbreak as the Rochester Honkers (0-2) were unable to hold a one-run lead in the ninth, losing 8-7 after a game-tying HR by Eau Claire Express (2-0) third baseman Daulton Varsho and go-ahead double by designated hitter Rudy Rott.
The Honkers jumped out to a 2-1 lead after one and a 7-3 lead after three innings. That lead was closed to 7-6, and the Honkers clung to that one-run lead from the top of the 4th to the top of the 9th.
The Honkers jumped on Express starter Brody Rodning (0-0, ND) early, scoring 7 runs and knocking him out of the game with one out in the third. Rodning was relieved by Austin Shulfer (1-0, W) a sophomore out of Milwaukee. Shulfer went 5.2 innings in relief holding the Honkers to two hits while striking out 10, six of those looking, thanks to his great use of his slider on the inner half of the plate.
Honkers starter Spencer Johnson (0-0, ND) out of Wayne State, went 5 innings giving up 6 earned runs on 10 hits with no strikeouts. He was relieved in the 6th inning by Jesse Ellefson (0-0, H) out of Montevallo, who contributed 2 shutout innings giving up only 1 hit.
The Honkers continued to maintain their lead as left-hander Bayley Chesterton (0-0, H) tossed a scoreless eighth, striking out two thanks to a beautiful curveball.
Honkers head coach Trevor Hairgrove (UC Riverside) gave the ball to Tanner Schumacher (0-1, L) to pitch the ninth and after a quick groundout by Mickey McDonald, Schumaker gave up the tying run on a Varsho screaming line-drive home run to right. Tyler Jones reached on an E5, the Honkers fourth error of the night, and after advancing to second on a balk, he was driven in on a double down the left field line by Rott to give the Express the lead.
The Honkers brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth, in Houston Glad after a Brett Harrison bloop single, but Glad struck out on three pitches, as Express side-armer Dylan Smith struck out the side to earn the save and a sweep of the Honkers.
- Honkers second baseman Christopher Scalisi continued to hit well going with a 2-run double in the 2nd.
- Honkers shortstop Keaton Weisz produced out of the leadoff spot going 2-4 with a walk and two runs scored.
- First baseman, Jed Sprague had a very rough night as he went 0-4 striking out five times, twice looking.
- After a great first three innings the Honkers subsequently struck out 12 times, 15 times in total. In their two games against Eau Claire, Honkers batters struck out a total of 33 times, which is good, err bad, for 61.1 percent of their outs, an average of 16.5 strikeouts per game.
Honkers look to get a win on the board tomorrow night as they play the Mankato MoonDogs (2-0) at 7:05 at Mayo Field.