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Blake Shepherd Homers Twice, But Stingers Drop Two To Mankato

MANKATO, Minn. – Blake Shepherd (Viterbo) hit a solo home run in each game of a doubleheader as part of his Willmar Stingers’ debut, but the Stingers dropped both games against the Mankato MoonDogs at Franklin Rogers Park Monday night. Blair Moore’s walk-off two-run homer capped off the sweep in a 3-1 victory for the Mankato Moondogs. Mankato won the first contest 6-2.

In the first game, Shepherd and Sean Dwyer (Florida Gulf Coast) each hit solo home runs, but those were the only runs Willmar plated in a 6-2 defeat. Kody Gorden took the loss after allowing six runs on 10 hits in four innings. The Stingers only collected six hits in the contest, and no player posted a multi-hit game. Aside from Shepherd’s and Dwyer’s homers, Mitch Rowan (Willamette), Jarid Scarafiotti (Stephen F. Austin) and Anthony Hincy (Doane College) each had singles, while Pat Stover (Santa Clara) added a double.

In the second game, the Stingers grabbed their first lead of the night with Shepherd’s solo blast to left field in the first inning. However, Mankato tied the game in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI double by Blair Moore. The score remained tied until the eighth inning when Moore struck again, this time with a two-run blast to right field to end the game. Both games were scheduled for seven innings in length because of the doubleheader.

Stover, Rowan and Rob Elliott (Bradley) had the other hits for Willmar in game two. Michael Jahns received a no-decision after allowing only one earned run in four innings and striking out three. Jack Shannon (San Diego) had a great outing in relief, pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

Willmar will play at Mankato Tuesday night before returning home to play the MoonDogs Wednesday night at Bill Taunton Stadium at Baker Field. Wednesday’s home game against Mankato is “Guaranteed Win Night” presented by Erbert and Gerberts & Big Country. The first 250 fans will receive an envelope with different amounts of comet cash. If the Stingers lose, all fans will receive a voucher to a future game as they exit the stadium. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. The gates will open at 6 p.m.

The 2011 season is presented by Charter.