BISMARCK -- After winning two crisply-played, well-pitched games in a row over the Waterloo Bucks, the Rochester Honkers made the long trip to Bismarck and lost a game that felt like a 3 1/2 hour trudge.
Things went awry early for Honkers starting pitcher Ryan Dorney, who couldn't get out of the second inning. He faced a total of 10 batters, and six of them got hits as Dorney yielded three runs.
While the Honkers' bullpen has been excellent through the first two weeks of the season, that wasn't the case on Tuesday. Mitchell Allen came on in the second and couldn't throw strikes. Two runs scored on bases-loaded walks, and Allen would eventually walk five batters in 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs, all earned.
Meanwhile, the Honkers offense got off to a very slow start against Bismarck starting pitcher Hunter Kloke, who yielded just one hit over five innings and held the Honkers scoreless through four. The Honkers finally scratched two runs across in the fifth (one of them was unearned).
Down 6-2, the Honkers made things interesting with two runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead to 6-4. In the top of the ninth, the Honkers had the tying runs aboard with one out, but Tristan Peterson bounced into a double play to end the game.
Evan Berkey was the only Honkers player with two hits, and Bismarck outhit the Honkers 10-6. Rochester's team batting average is down to .228, which ranks 17th in the 22-team Northwoods League, and the Honkers have scored just 63 runs, which ranks 20th.
The Honkers (8-7) play a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday at Bismarck (10-5).
Larks 6, Honkers 4
Rochester: Berkey 2-for-5, R, RBI; Tristan Peterson 1 R; Wrobleski 1-for-4, RBI; Borden 1-for-3, R, RBI; Thelen 1 R; Daini 1-for-4; George 1-for-4. Pitchers: Dorney (LP) 1 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 K; Allen 1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 3 K; Nimmo 3 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.
Bismarck: Gregory 4-for-4, R, 3B, RBI; Bowman 1-for-4, R, 2 RBI; Taylor 2-for-5, R; Peterson 2-for-4, 2 R. Pitchers: Kloke (WP) 5 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K; Collins 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K; Miller 2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.