ST. CLOUD — The Rochester Honkers’ faint playoff hopes evaporated here Sunday afternoon.
Rochester was unable to generate any offense against a pair of talented St. Cloud Rox pitchers, and the Honkers were officially eliminated from the playoff race as first-place St. Cloud earned an 8-0 Northwoods League victory.
The Honkers (16-15) are now 6½ games back of first-place St. Cloud (22-8) with six games to go in the regular season.
Rochester will play its final two home games of the season today and Wednesday, both against Willmar, both starting at 6:35 p.m.
St. Cloud scored twice in the bottom of the first inning, the only runs it would need. Eight Rox batters had at least one hit, led by Ben Carew, who went 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
St. Cloud’s pitchers took care of the rest. Starter Nick Desalvo was outstanding, allowing just three hits and no walks, with seven strikeouts, in seven innings of work. Justin Wick pitched the final two innings to seal the victory.
Evan Berkey, Aaron Simmons and Henry George had Rochester’s hits.
Mike Lopez took the loss for the Honkers. He pitched five innings, allowed four earned runs on 11 hits, with one walk and two strikeouts.
ROX 8, HONKERS 0
Rochester 000 000 000 — 0 3 2
St. Cloud 200 203 10x — 8 17 0
Rochester: Evan Berkey 1-for-4; Aaron Simmons 1-for-2; Henry George 1-for-2. Pitchers: Mike Lopez (LP) 5 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; Adam Fjerstad 2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K; Ben Strassman 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.
St. Cloud: Hance Smith 1-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI; Gus Steiger 3-for-5, 1 RBI; Garett Delano 3-for-4, 2 R; Jack Kelly 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI; Parker Smejkal 1-for-3, 1 R; Ben Carew 4-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI; Luke Ira 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI. Pitchers: Nick Desalvo (WP) 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K; Justin Wick 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K.