La Crosse lefty Emmett Olson was a strike away from escaping the third inning with the 2-1 lead still in hand. Olson had loaded the bases on a walk and two hits, but the top of the Honkers order couldn’t take advantage. Jack Colette struck out and Ben North popped to short and Cole Fontenelle was the only man standing in the way of Olson’s Houdini act.
But Fontenelle didn’t let Olson get off the hook.
The Rochester first baseman smoked a line drive up the middle that ricocheted off Olson’s leg and two runs came around to score.
That gave the Honkers a 3-2 lead and they didn’t give it up. Rochester starter Aaron Vernon allowed a two-run home run to Ildefonso Ruiz in the first inning, but he settled in and the Rochester pitching staff combined for eight consecutive scoreless innings in the 6-2 win over La Crosse.
Patrick Williams relieved Vernon in the fifth inning and fired three innings of one-hit ball in relief. He walked just one and struck out one. Darren Jansen was dominant in the final two innings, allowing just one single and a walk. He struck out one and La Crosse couldn't barrel him up.
Fontenelle had three hits and scored a run to lead the Honkers' offense. The University of Washington product is hitting .289 and he also stole his sixth and seventh bases of the season. Jackson Forbes had a pair of bunt singles and he scored one run while also swiping a bag. Cameron Laliberte had two hits and two runs scored while Mike Bolton Jr. smoked an RBI double in the sixth inning. The bottom of the Honkers order (Zach Cole, Laliberte and Bolton Jr.) combined for three hits and scored four runs while driving in three runs.
Rochester improved to 23-24 and they'll host La Crosse on Friday at 6:35 p.m.