Honkers Lose Final Home Game 4-3 to St. Cloud
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The Honkers (12-21,19-49) had a microcosm of their season in their 4-3 loss to St. Cloud (21-11, 46-22), as they had a home run, a solid start, an inability to throw strikes, a comeback, critical errors, bad relief pitching, stranding runners, and a 3-hour game in their final home game of the 2016 season.
In the first inning the Rox scored on Brett Pope's RBI single, and then in the bottom half of the inning, hot-hitting Ryan Fitzpatrick hit his fifth home run of the season to make the score 1-1.
Honkers starter Robert Paccione was able to dance around trouble, giving up nine hits and walking four to give up only three runs in his five innings. In his five innings, Paccione faced 29 batters throwing first pitch strikes to only six of them, and stranding 11 runners on base.
That performance was critical for the Honkers and was the solid start they have seen from their pitchers frequently in the second half.
However the runs he gave up were due to his inability to throw strikes and critical errors.
In the top of the fifth, Brett Pope lead off the inning witha single, then advanced to second on Mark Skonieczny's singe. Brendan Illies then hit a doiubel to left to drive in Pope, and as Josh Davis tried to throw out Illies at second, his throw sailed, allowing Skonieczny to score and give the Rox a 3-1 lead.
The Honkers responded in the bottom of the seventh, mounting a late comeback to tie the game. In the inning, Cole Heavilin got his first hit of the year, then Turner Buis reached on a walk. Kyle Kasser then came up and drilled a 2-2 pitch to left-center to drive in both runners and tie the game, 3-3.
However in the top of the eighth, Lance Berringer (0-2, went only two batters before giving up the go-ahead run, giving up a single to Mason Mamarella then an RBI double to Brett Pope gave the Rox a 4-3 lead. However, a critical error occured before he was knocked in. Mason Mamarella attempted to steal second during Pope's at-bat, and Jackson Thoreson, in his attempt to throw him out, threw the ball away allowing Mamarella to reach third.
In the bottom of the inning, the Honkers got their first two runners on and moved over to third thanks to Jackson Thoreson's sacrifice bunt, but they couldn't drive them in coming up just short once again.
Stevie Ledezma pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, giving the Honkers three more outs in their final home game with their best hitters, Turner Buis, Kyle Kasser, and Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Honkers last chance.
Although the Honkers home season is over they still have four more games on the road as they play the first of two versus the Duluth Huskies (10-22, 28-40), in Duluth, at 6:35 tomorrow night.