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Honkers downed by Express walk-off single

Rochester suffered its second consecutive tough defeat, falling to Eau Claire in the bottom of the ninth to drop to 7-6 in the second and 22-24 overall.

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — For the second consecutive night, the Rochester Honkers found themselves on the wrong end of a tough game.

After falling to the Willmar Stingers in 12 innings on Thursday, the Honkers saw the Eau Claire Express hit a walk-off single in the ninth for a 4-3 win on Friday in a game that was delayed an hour due to thunderstorms in Eau Claire.

The Honkers have now lost three of four and are now 7-6 in the second half and 22-25 overall, while the Express improve to 11-4, 30-19.

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Eau Claire jumped out to a 2-0 lead without recording a hit, capitalizing off of two walks and a pair of Honkers errors in the first.

The Honkers would tie it two innings later on a Carson Stevens two-run, two-out single. Stevens was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double.

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Dario Gomez then led off the Honkers fourth with a single that resulted in him reaching third after an error by the right-fielder. He would come around to score on an Alex Pimentel groundout to give Rochester a 3-2 lead.

It didn't last long as Max Coupe led off the Express fifth with a home run off of Rochester starter Jacob Smith. Overall, the Honkers 6-foot-7 lefty was solid, allowing three runs — two earned — on just three hits with three strikeouts.

From there both bullpens matched each other zero for zero. In fact, the Express retired 10 consecutive Rochester hitters to end the game. AJ Campbell and Jacob Mead combined for one hit in three scoreless innings out of the Honkers bullpen.

But the Express broke through in the ninth.

That's when a hit by pitch and a single set the stage for Trevor Haskins, who delivered the game-winning, two-out hit.

The teams will finish the two-game series in Rochester at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday. Minnesota native Noah Rooney is the scheduled Honkers starter.

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