Honkers Fall, Split Doubleheader
The Rochester Honkers returned to Mayo Field Wednesday night for the second game of a split city doubleheader with the Waterloo Bucks. Rochester fell by a score of 6-4, the same score they had won by in the opener.
The Bucks got it going in the first off Honkers starter Will Bamesberger. A Pat MacKenzie double to lead things off started an inning that was not so easy to get out of. Bamseberger fielded the next ball, a bunt, and threw on to third to try to retire MacKenzie. Both runners were safe to make it first and third with no outs. After a stolen base gave Waterloo two runners in scoring position, Bamesberger got the first out of the inning via strikeout.
With one out, Kevin Kaczmarski came up and hit a ball hard that Blaise Lezysnki fielded. Lezysnki ran over and tossed to the man covering first, but not in time and Kaczmarski was on with a single, MacKenzie in for the first run. Bamesberger struck out another batter before facing Connor McClain. McClain swung and missed for strike three, but the pitch was wild from Bamesberger and allowed McClain to reach and Jon McAllister to cross the plate for the 2-0 Waterloo lead.
In the bottom of the opening frame, Rochester's first two batters went down quietly. Connor Schaefbauer then hit an opposite field double ahead of Reid Roper. Reid Roper, who drove in two in the first game of the doubleheader, then hit one to right. Right fielder Will Sparks initially ran in before letting the ball drop in front of him for the base hit. Schaefbauer came around to score as the ball went past Sparks. Roper advanced to third, but was stranded to keep the score 2-1.
To lead off the fourth inning, Bamesberger got a full count on Blake Berger. On the payoff pitch, the Waterloo catcher blasted one out for his first home run of the season and a 3-1 lead. After striking out his sixth batter, Bamesberger walked MacKenzie for a second consecutive at-bat. Will Sparks drove MacKenzie home with a triple off the left field wall to make it 4-1.
In the bottom of the inning, the Honkers got one of those runs back. After fouling a few off, Jordan Smith doubled to the right-center gap. This time Ryne Roper came up with the RBI, singling home Smith on a fly ball to left that dropped in to make it 4-2.
After four innings of work, Bamesber's day was done. In four innings, Bamseberger gave up four runs on five hits with six strikeouts. The Honkers called in Brandon Nickolite to make his Rochester debut.
Nickolite gave up a run on a sacrifice fly by Blake Berger that extended the Waterloo lead to 5-2. Ryan Nagle then hit what appeared to be the third out on a putout by Lezysnki at first. A tough hop and a good bounce to Reid Roper at second base allowed the hit, but a heads-up throw as Mikal Hill overran the bag got the Honkers off the field.
The Honkers then got a leadoff homer of their own in the fifth. Corey Hassel delivered his seventh homer of the season to make it 5-3 in the fifth.
Waterloo starter Nick Veale was gone from the game after five innings. Veale gave up three runs on six hits, walking three and striking out four. He would give way to Colin Wendinger.
Another Waterloo homer in the eighth gave Waterloo a three-run lead once again. This time around, it Mikal Hill hitting his third homer of the season, with all of them coming at the Honkers' expense.
Alex Morgensen also made his Rochester pitching debut Wednesday night, pitching a scoreless ninth with two walks and one strikeout.
Wendinger was still pitching, and still shutting down Honkers batters in his fourth inning of work. Corey Hassel then homered with two outs in the ninth, his eighth homer of the year. That was the only blemish for Wendinger in his four innings of work, giving up the run on just two hits and one walk and striking out four.
Will Bamesberger dropped his first decision of the season and is now 4-1 on the season. The loss drops the Honkers to 13-13 in the second half as the race remains tight in the North Division. Rochester will look to stay in the race Thursday night as they travel to Willmar for two games. The Honkers will be back at Mayo Field Saturday night for a doubleheader against Thunder Bay beginning at 5:05 p.m.