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Huskies Heartbreak in Narrow Loss to Willmar

Stingers starter Jack Habeck throws a 104-pitch complete game to down Duluth.

Duluth, Minn. – For a second straight night, the Huskies fell short at Bill Taunton Stadium.

The Willmar Stingers topped the Duluth Huskies 3-2 in Willmar, sweeping the Duluth Huskies in the second series of the season. It was a pure Pitcher’s Duel, a game that took under three hours and saw just nine hits, decided by just one run.

Right-hander Devin Dodson got his fourth start of the season for the Huskies, fresh off throwing five consecutive scoreless innings to close a six-inning start against Rochester. Dodson entered with just two walks to 18 strikeouts, second-most on the Huskies team, including a 2.65 ERA through his first three starts.

Willmar also sent their ace to the mound, with Jack Habeck earning his third start of the season. The Huskies got to the St. Cloud State product early, with outfielder Noah Marcelo bouncing an RBI single to left field to score Ambren Voitik. It was the third time in four games on this road trip that Duluth scored first.

In the third inning, the Stingers scored a pair on a single and a sacrifice fly to go ahead 2-1 going into the middle innings. Dodson was forced to throw thirty pitches in the third, filling the count six times in his first three innings.

These were the only runs that Dodson gave up in the outing, throwing four shutout innings otherwise. Dodson closed his fourth start of the season giving up just one earned run across five frames, including four strikeouts.

Willmar committed four errors in game one, and the Huskies were able to convert on the sixth Stingers’ error in the series. Kristian Campbell got to second base on a throwing error by shortstop Scott Anderson, then came home from third base after a wild pitch from Habeck allowed Campbell to tie the game at two going into the bottom of the fifth inning.

Jake Christianson has been one of the most composed relievers in the Northwoods League, and proved why again in the bottom of the sixth. Christianson relieved Steen Lane in the bottom of the sixth, entering the game with the bases loaded and one out. Christianson would fire four pitches, routinely striking out the Willmar catcher Jake Entrekin before inducing a fly out to left field to keep the game tied at two.

Despite striking out the side in the eighth, Willmar’s hottest hitter came through in the bottom of the seventh. First baseman Will Hodo sent a solo home run the opposite way to left center field to give the Stingers a 3-2 lead. Hodo finished the series with four hits and four RBI against the Huskies.

Michael Sarhatt tossed a scoreless eighth inning for Duluth, but Habeck dominated to close up the win for Willmar. The rising Junior closed his start with four shutout innings, earning his second win of the season facing the minimum in the final two innings. Christianson received the loss, dropping to 0-2 this season.

The Huskies continue their eight-game road trip tomorrow at Mayo Field against the Rochester Honkers. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 P.M. on Father’s Day.