The Rochester Honkers keep finding new ways to win. Some nights it's home runs. Other nights it's a dominant bullpen.
On Monday in Thunder Bay, the Honkers got a brilliant performance from starting pitcher Ryan Middendorf and topped the Border Cats 3-2. Middendorf tossed seven scoreless innings, yielding just five hits and one walk while picking up eight strikeouts. Middendorf's ERA is now 1.50 after 12 innings of work.
Ryan Wrobleski made Middendorf's job a bit easier by providing an early lead. Wrobleski hit a solo homer in the top of the first, his second home run of the year, then doubled and scored in the fourth inning to stretch the lead to 2-0. Wrobleski now has a club-leading seven RBIs through seven games and is hitting .381.
The Honkers added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Joey Daini doubled with one out, then came around to score on a two-out single by Evan Berkey.
That third run proved to be vital, as Honkers reliever Marty Tolson Jr. gave up a two-run homer to Tyson Fisher in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead to 3-2. Those were the first runs Tolson has given up in three appearances for the Honkers.
In the bottom of the ninth, however, Tolson slammed the door, working a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts to earn his second save.
The Honkers are 5-2 and will face Thunder Bay again on Tuesday night. The Border Cats are 0-7 and are the only winless team in the Northwoods League.
Honkers 3, Border Cats 2
Rochester: Berkey 1-for-5; Tristan Peterson 1-for-4; Wrobleski 2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI; Allen 1-for-4; Thelen 1-for-3; Daini 1-for-4, 2B, R; George 1-for-4. Pitchers: Middendorf (WP) 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K; Tolson Jr. (S) 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
Thunder Bay: Vasquez 2-for-3; Edmondson 1 R; Fischer 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI; Larson 1-for-3; Grilli 1-for-4; Jorgenson 2-for-4. Pitchers: Hansen (LP) 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K; Eggleston 2 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 K; Kern 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R.