After an extremely quick turnaround from the road trip, the Huskies secured a doubleheader split versus the Honkers on Wednesday. They remain tied atop the Great Plains East, with Rochester and Thunder Bay sitting even with Duluth.
In game one, the Huskies pitching staff struggled mightily with command. Duluth pitching walked 10 batters in total, and despite just one hit in the first inning, the Honkers scored four runs in the frame. The visitors continued to add on in the middle innings, scoring eight runs in their first five opportunities at the plate. Throughout the game, their hit total was often less than their run total, which is certainly an uncommon occurrence.
The Huskies battled back impressively, cutting the lead to 5-4 in the third inning. However, the bats went quiet in the second half of the game, with Duluth unable to get on the board past the fifth inning.
With Rochester’s strong bullpen performance, they finished off an 8-5 victory, going into first place on its own for the moment.
The nightcap featured two incredible performances on the rubber. Alex Potter came up huge for the Huskies, who needed a starter to go deep into the game. The University of Nebraska-Omaha product pitched 6 innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five Honkers’ hitters. Daniel Willie was not to be outdone on the other side, pitching six scoreless innings and striking out seven. Neither team scored through the first seven innings, with both missing crucial opportunities. The Huskies left nine on base during the game, and it nearly back to bite them.
In the top of the eighth, Rochester struck first, with pinch-hitter Nico Regino smashing a solo home run to dead center to put his team ahead 1-0.
Duluth quickly threatened in the eighth, loading up the bases with nobody out. However, back-to-back strikeouts put the Huskies in danger of squandering the opportunity. Caleb Corbin ensured that didn’t happen, tripling on a ball into the left-center gap with two strikes, clearing the bases in the process.
With a 3-1 lead in the ninth, Austin Humphres finished the job on the mound, capping off a 3-inning performance with 7 strikeouts.
The Huskies moved back into a tie for first place with the win. They will turn their attention to the Waterloo Bucks, as they travel to Wade Stadium for games on Thursday and Friday.