Honkers continue strong overall play
Another day, another strong overall effort.
The Rochester Honkers rolled past the Brainerd Lunkers for the second straight night on Wednesday, winning 9-2 at Mayo Field in front of an announced crowd of 1,130.
It was the second straight game in which the Honkers scored nine runs against the Lunkers. Rochester was coming off a shutout win on Tuesday.
"It was another strong all-around performance," Honkers manager Rudy Ruiz said.
Aaron Siefken (1-0) was stellar in his first start for the Honkers, allowing one run on three hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also benefited from a strong offensive showing as the Honkers pounded out 16 hits.
"It's always great to get that much run support," Siefken admitted.
The Honkers broke up a scoreless game with three runs in the fourth inning and added three more in the fifth to break it open.
"It's really exciting because the talent is there and it shows," Honkers first baseman Matt Dittman said.
Dittman was one of a handful of hitting stars for the Honkers on Tuesday. He was 4-for-5 with a couple of runs scored. Josef Terry was also 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs as he increased his average to .338.
Ryan Hambright, now hitting .362, was 3-for-4 with a double and a two-run homer to right field in the seventh inning. And Chris Elder drove in multiple runs for the second straight game as he was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
"The guys are trusting their ability and trying to make it happen," Ruiz said.
"It's good to see because we struggled the first seven or eight games of the second half," Dittman said.
The Honkers had lost seven of eight at one point. But now the first-half Northern Division champs are 7-9 in the second half of the season. They dropped Brainerd to 9-7 in the second half.
"We've been working (hard) every day of the home stand," Ruiz said. "When you do that, good things will happen."
Terry and Anthony Hutting hit RBI doubles in a three-run fourth inning as the Honkers finally broke through against Brainerd righty Ian Horkley. Dittman had the first of five straight hits to open the fifth. Jimmy Waters followed with a double and later Terry and Elder had RBI singles and catcher Dan Pellegrino had an RBI grounder.
Dittman also started the final Honkers rally with an infield single in the eighth. He later scored on Terry's second RBI single of the game. Dittman now has seven hits in his past two games as he average has increased to .315.
"I'm more encouraged that the seven hits is helping the team get victories," Dittman said of his recent surge.
The Honkers have also won two straight after dropping the first game of the three-game set to Brainerd. The Honkers (26-22 overall) travel to Mankato today to face the MoonDogs at 7:05 p.m. Mike Strong is slated to start on the mound for the Honkers.
The Honkers and Mankato return to Rochester to play at 7:05 p.m. Friday.