Tony Lanier was an out away from escaping the bases-loaded, ninth-inning jam and securing a big win for the Honkers. But the hard-throwing reliever's command got shaky at the absolute worst time.
Lanier walked Bismarck's Ben Teel on four pitches to tie the game at 4. Then, on a 1-2 offering, Spencer Sarringer singled to center field to drive in the go-ahead runs and give Bismarck a 6-4 lead. It erased the heroics from Otto Grimm who came off the bench and hit a go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning on Friday.
The Honkers didn't go down without a fight. Cole Fontenelle's two-out, run-scoring single cut Bismarck's lead to 6-5, and they loaded the bases for Mac Horvath with two outs. Horvath has been the most dominant hitter for the Honkers all year long but he popped out with the winning run at second base.
Rochester spoiled an outstanding outing from Aaron Vernon. The starter fired seven innings of three-run ball. Vernon made one mistake in the second inning and Jordan Sagedahl made him pay with a 3-run bomb. But other than that, Vernon was excellent on Friday. He struck out four and walked just one. His ERA sits at a tidy 3.40.
Benjamin Rosengard had two hits and drew a walk. Jackson Forbes singled and stole two bases. Zach Cole scored a pair of runs. But the Honkers left eight men on base including three in the ninth inning.
The loss dropped the Honkers back under .500 at 26-27. They'll look to get back on track today when they travel to St. Cloud to take on the Rox. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.