BISMARCK -- If the Rochester Honkers qualify for the playoffs this summer, they might very well look back at June 12 as a turning point to their season.
After dropping the opening game of a four-game set against a first-place Bismarck squad, the Honkers on Wednesday swept a day-night doubleheader with the Larks, winning the first game 8-1 and then claiming the nightcap 6-2.
The story in the second game, as it was in the first, was Rochester's pitching. Evan Layne got the start and tossed six innings, giving up four hits and one run with six strikeouts. He got the win and is 3-0 with an ERA of 0.77 in 11 innings. Marc Bisogno tossed the final three innings to pick up his first save as a Honker, yielding one hit and an unearned run with four strikeouts.
The Honkers used just four pitchers in the doubleheader, and Rochester's team ERA is 3.32.
On offense, Henry George and Aaron Simmons were the hitting stars for the Honkers. Batting ninth in the order, George reached base four times on three singles and a walk, and Simmons had three singles and two RBIs. Simmons is batting .304 and is tied for the club lead with 11 RBIs.
Jack Thelen broke the game open for the Honkers with a two-run double in the top of the sixth.
The Honkers (10-7) and Larks (10-7) wrap up their four-game series on Thursday evening in Bismarck. The Honkers will host St. Cloud on Friday at 7:05 p.m.
Honkers 6, Larks 2
Rochester: Berkey 2-for-4, R, RBI; Simmons 3-for-5, 2 RBI; Schmitt 1-for-4, R; Daini 1-for-5, R; Nelson 1-for-4, R; Thelen 1-for-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI; George 3-for-3, R. Pitchers: Layne (WP) 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K; Bisogno (S) 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.
Bismarck: Gregory 1-for-4; Peterson 1-for-2, R; Ulrich 1-for-2, R; McBride 1-for-4, RBI. Pitchers: Howard (LP) 5 1/3 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; Davis 2 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K; Glewe 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K.