The Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers went into Tuesday night's scheduled game with the first-place Rochester Honkers red hot with four straight home wins.
Unfortunately, the rains came Tuesday night and the game was washed away. The Lunkers' momentum may have been washed away with the rain as they couldn't get anything going in the first game of the doubleheader Wednesday.
Brainerd's bats then woke up in the second game as the Lunkers scored 12 runs and pounded out 17 hits to clobber the Honkers 12-4 to split the series. Brian Garman pitched a stellar game to earn his second win of the season. Garman pitched a complete game, giving up just the four earned runs while strking out 11.
The Honkers entered the game with a North Division-leading 8-3 record. The Lunkers carried a 6-4 record and were hoping to win a pair and put pressure on Rochester.
Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers David Valesente (16) connected with a pitch Wednesday night at Mills Field against the Rochester Honkers. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Matt Mullendore started for Brainerd against his former team. Mullendore started the season pitching for the Honkers and appeared in several games before being released. Since joining the Lunkers, he had provided a solid arm out of the bullpen before being asked to take the ball and start Game One.
Rochester came ready to hit and Mullendore was knocked out of the game after pitching just 2 1/3 innings. Mullendore's line for the game: eight runs, five hits, six walks, and four strikeouts as the Lunkers found themselves behind 9-0 after three innings.
Brainerd could only manage one run and fell 10-1 in Game One. The lone bright spot for the Lunkers was the pitching of Mats Mattson. Mattson came on in relief for Mullendore and pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up just one earned run while striking out three.
In Game Two Brian Garman took the ball with a 1-1 season record with a ERA of 3.22 in 21 1/3 innings pitched. He struck out two batters in the top of the first inning to get Brainerd off the field and into bat quickly.
Rochester took the lead at 1-0 in the top of the second inning. The Lunkers struck back in the bottom of the second with two runs to take the lead. Nate Hammes had a one-out hit and later scored. The Lunkers then scored another run on an attempted double steal.
Brainerd mounted a one-out threat as a sacrifice bunt by Dennis O'Grady moved Will Piwnica-Worms and Stephen Wickens into scoring position. Both would score on a double by Michael Kvasnicka and the Lunkers had a 4-1 lead.
Key: Brian Garman's complete game keys Lunkers win
Overall: Brd 7-5, Roch 9-4
Next: Brainerd hosts Rochester at Mills Field 7:05 p.m. Thursday
The Honkers scored a run in the top of the fourth to draw within two, but the threat didn't last for long. With Justin Gominsky on third base and Michael Gedman on second, Piwnica-Worms singled to left over a drawn in infield with one out and the Lunkers upped their lead to 6-2. Brainerd scored one more run and then add five more in the fifth to take a 12-2 lead.
The hitting stars in Game Two included O'Grady, Kvasnicka, Gominsky, Roe, Gedman, and Piwnica-Worms who each had two hits.
Rochester 153 000 1 - 10 8 0
Brainerd 000 100 0 - 1 4 2
Rochester: Andrew Gagnon, Danny Pulfer (7) and Mitch Karraker.
Brainerd: Matt Mullendore, Mats Mattson (3), B. Severtson (7) and Hunter Nolen.
WP: Gagnon 4-1. LP: Mullendore 1-1.
2B: Roch-Corey Jones 2, Tony Thompson, Chris Auten
3B: Roch-PJ Sequeira
SB: Brd-Stephen Wickens
SF: Brd-Micheal Gedman
RBIs: Roch-Jones 2, Rance Roundy, Thompson 3, Aaron Dunsmore, Auten 3
LOB: Roch 9, Brd 8
Rochester 010 101 1 4 10 0
Brainerd 022 350 x 12 17 0
Rochester: Jeff Burleson, Jay Johnson (5), Scott McGough (6) and Aaron Johnson
Brainerd: Brian Garman and Nate Hammes
WP: Garman (2-1). LP: Burleson (1-3).
2B: Brd-Michael Kvasnicka, Stephen Wickens
SB: Roc-Scott Berke, Brd-Shon Roe
S: Brd-Dennis O'Grady, Roe
RBIs: Roc-Berke (2), William Arnold, Corey Jones. Brd-Will Piwnica-Worms (2), Kvasnicka (2), O'Grady (2), Mike Martinez, Roe, Michael Gedman, Wickens, Valesente
LOB: Brd 4, Roc 9
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