Holbert Start, Late Offense Extend Honkers Win Streak
The Rochester Honkers completed the sweep of Battle Creek Friday night with a 4-1 win.
Friday night, runs were hard to come by for both teams at Mayo Field. In the second inning, Battle Creek threatened to score first. Colby Bortles led off with the first hit for the ballgame and advanced to third on a base hit and a wild pitch. When Cody Kuzniczci (Northern Kentucky) came up with one out and two runners in scoring position. Kuzniczci then hit a ground ball to third baseman Reid Roper (Illinois). Bortles, who was now on third base, broke home and was thrown out easily on a heads-up play by Roper. The game remained scoreless.
The first hit the Honkers got off Battle Creek starter Collin Orellana (San Diego State) came in the fourth inning. Jeff Campbell (North Dakota) grounded a ball down the third base line that stayed fair, rolling and hitting the third base bag.
Alex Schultz (Nebraska Omaha) got the second hit of the night when he grounded a ball to the right side with two outs in the sixth. Schultz then stole second base on the next pitch and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Ball four to Jeff Campbell was in the dirt and not blocked at the plate. The first run of the game scored on a wild pitch and it was 1-0 after six innings. Bombers starter Collin Orellana gave up that one run while giving up just two infield hits and walked three.
Cody Kuzniczci led off Battle Creek's seventh with a double that dropped into right field. A sacrifice bunt advanced him to third, and a sac fly off the bat of Sebastian Diaz (Miami) tied the game at 1-1. A walk to David Richards and the night was over for Rochester starter Seth Holbert.
Holbert (Sam Houston State) left giving up one run in 6 2/3 innings pitched. Holbert gave up five hits and four walks and struck out seven.
Going to the bullpen, the Honkers went to Will Bamesberger (Creighton). Bamesberger then proceeded to record an out without throwing a pitch. After taking the mound in the seventh, Bamesberger checked Richards at first. A throw over got Richards in a rundown and the Honkers defense to the dugout.
In the bottom of the seventh, Parker Guinn (Washington) got on with a walk, the second of three he would take in the ballgame. With two outs, he took off for second and got in safely for his second successful stolen base attempt on the year. Ryan Boldt (Nebraska) then sent one to the left-center gap for an RBI double and the lead was back. Not happy with a one-run lead, Corey Hassel (Oklahoma State) followed with a high drive, a no-doubter to put the Honkers up 4-1. The home run was Hassel's team-leading sixth of the season.
Having thrown no pitches, Bamesberger was now in line for the win after the Honkers took the lead. Bamesberger did return for the eighth and did not allow any runs or hits while walking one batter.
In the ninth, the Honkers turned to Nick Highberger. Highberger (Creighton) had no trouble and recorded his second save of the night. Bamesberger picked up his fourth win of the season, tying Spencer Greer for the team lead.
With the win, the Honkers have their first winning record of the second half at 11-10 and a 30-25 record overall. The win is also the fourth straight for the Honkers. Rochester will look to Matt Kent (Texas A&M) and his league-leading 52 strikeouts to help extend the win streak in a 6:35 p.m. start Saturday night in Eau Claire. The Honkers will return to Mayo Field to face St. Cloud on Monday night with a 7:05 p.m. scheduled first pitch.