The Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers lost to the Rochester Honkers 8-6 Thursday at Mills Field but the final score doesn't come close to describing the game.
The Lunkers started off with a two-run first by being selective at the plate, aggresive on the bases and by using some small ball techinques.
Rochester 8, Lunkers 6
The key: Honkers explode for 7 runs in 8th inning.
Records: Brd 4-5, Roch 5-4
Next: Rochester vs. Brainerd, Mills Field, 7:05 p.m. Friday.
From there the Lunkers supported Matt Florer, reliever turned starting pitcher, who was starting his first game since his high school days, both defensively and offensively with three more runs over the next few innings as Brainerd built a 3-1 lead.
Florer pitched six innings, surrendering five hits, allowing one run, while walking three and striking out four.
"Matt did a good job working his way out of trouble in a few innings. He is used to being a relief pitcher. He knows how to get out of those tight jams. He never gets rattled, " said field manager Ryan Levendoski.
It was in the bottom half of the sixth that things got a bit crazy in the field for the Honkers.
In one wild play, Dorian Williams struck out on a third called strike for the Lunkers while teamate Matt Hillsinger stole second. He proceeded to advance to third on an errant throw from Rochester catcher Drew Beuerlein. Once at third another wild throw allowed Hillsinger to take home plate. In total there were three errors in one play.
Things then got crazy an inning later in the Honkers' favor when Brainerd gave up seven runs in one inning, four of them unearned.
"The biggest thing when you get a lead like that is that you have to pitch to contact," said Levendoski. "You have to force those guys to hit the ball and be in play."
In the ninth the Lunkers tried to recover, at one point having the tying run on base.
"This is one of those games that is kind of hard to describe. I thought we had it in the bag ahead 5-1," said Levendoski.
The Lunkers will try and take the series, which is now tied at 1-1, Friday night.
Rochester 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 7 0 - 8 13 5
Brainerd 2 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 - 6 11 2
Roch: Danny Winkler, Arik Sikula (7)
Brd: Matt Florer, Ian Horkley (7), Rob Mathews (8)
WP:Areik Sikula. LP: Ian Horkley.
2B: Brd- Russ Hopkins (2); Roch- Drew Beuerlein (1)
SB: Brd- Matt Hillsinger (1); Roch-
S: Brd-; Roch-
SF: Brd- Jake McLain (2); Roch-
RBIs: Brd- Travis Cariveau (3), T.J. Berge (6), David Albritton (3), Jake McLain (7), Jeff Bunch (3); Roch- Bryan Karraker (2), Richie Jimenez (2), Drew Beuerlein 2 (3), Bryan Lippincott 2 (7), Anthony Dunn (3), Zach Miller (2)
DP: Brd 1, Roch 1
LOB: Brd 12, Roch 9
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