College baseball: Fagalde throws more 0's but Honkers lose

If only Alex Fagalde could have pitched all of the innings for the Rochester Honkers this season, it might have gone much differently.

Rochester Honkers pitcher Alex Fagalde delivers during a Northwoods League game against St. Cloud on Monday at Mayo Field in Rochester. Fagalde pitched six innings and didn't allow a run, while striking out seven hitters.

If only Alex Fagalde could have pitched all of the innings for the Rochester Honkers this season, it might have gone much differently.

The Honkers have been hard to score against whenever the hard-throwing right-hander is on the mound.

Monday night at Mayo Field was no different. Unfortunately, the outcome was also familiar.

Fagalde started and pitched six scoreless innings for Rochester, but he was deserted by his offense and the playoff-bound St. Cloud Rox won 2-1 before a crowd of 871.

"Tonight it wasn't (frustrating)," said Fagalde, who ran his scoreless innings streak to 26 innings over his last five appearances. He allowed just four hits, struck out seven and walked one.


"I thought we really competed the whole way through and that's baseball," he said with a shrug. "Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't. I was proud of the way we battled and it was a tough loss."

The Honkers (19-48 overall) dropped to 12-20 in the second half and also to 12-20 at home this season, with one home game remaining on Wednesday night against St. Cloud (44-22).

Rochester took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run down the left field line by Ryan Fitzpatrick (Saddle Back College), his fourth this season. It was one of just four hits for the Honkers against three St. Cloud pitchers.

St. Cloud tied it with a run in the seventh on a hit batter (who scored), a walk and a two-out single to center by Ricky Ramirez (McNeese State).

The Rox got the winning run in the top of the ninth with a lead-off single, a hit batter, a walk and a close play at the plate on a fielder's choice. Denis Karas (UC Berkeley) dashed home from third base on a grounder to second by Ramirez. The throw home from second baseman Kyle Kasser (Oregon) appeared to beat Karas for the force out, but the umpire didn't see it that way.

"(The home plate umpire) said (catcher Riley Erickson) pulled off too early, and I didn't agree with it," said Honkers manager Trevor Hairgrove, who argued the safe call.

"The thing I just tell these guys, for future reference, don't leave it up to the umpires. We had opportunities earlier in the game with a couple runners on second base to get a two-out hit and weren't able to. Again you get in those tight ball games like that and something happens like that, you've gotta live with it."

Hairgrove said Fagalde has been reliable on the mound all season thanks to a great work ethic and a very good fastball.


"He's coming out and putting in the work off the field and on the field, and it shows," the coach said. "Now every time he goes out there it's lights out just because of the work he's put in. He's attacking hitters and his fastball command has been impressive, especially sitting at 90-92 (mph) the whole time."

Fagalde came off a solid junior season at UC Riverside where he was 3-1 with a 2.87 ERA, with 41 strikeouts and 12 walks in 37.3 innings. Now he is 2-1 with a 1.41 ERA with the Honkers, with 54 K's and just 13 walks in 44.3 innings.

"Toward the end of the school year things started to click a little bit and there wasn't a whole lot of break between that season and this season," he said. "This summer for me was about transitioning into a starting pitcher, so I think I did that so far, so I'm happy about that."

Fagalde made his last start but may get in a few innings of relief in the last week. He said he has enjoyed this season with the Honkers, despite the team's struggles to win.

"More than anything I'm just really happy to be here; its been a fun summer," he assured. "The way these guys have grown and competed, that's the most gratifying thing for me, and how we've come together. I've got a lot of lifelong friends I've made up here."

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