BRAINERD, Minn. – Willmar scored three runs on three hits in the top of the eighth inning to grab its first lead of the game, 4-2. Jack Shannon (San Diego) and Kurt Spomer (Creighton) came out of the bullpen to make the victory hold up after Thomas Taylor (Kansas) began the game for the Stingers, allowing only two runs on eight hits in seven innings.
Trailing 2-1 entering the eighth inning, the first two hitters for the Stingers were retired in order, but then Willmar rallied with two outs. Eduardo Gonzalez (Alcorn State) and Sean Dwyer (Florida Gulf Coast) had back-to-back hits followed by a walk to Pat Stover (Santa Clara) to load the bases. John Haberman (Pacific) then knocked a two-run single with two outs to give the Stingers a 3-2 lead. Stover scored later in the inning on a play at the plate where the catcher Jon Crist dropped the ball.
Taylor improved to 1-1 with the victory, while Spomer picked up his fourth save of the season. Garrett Borba (Pacific) went 2-for-3 in his debut for the Stingers and added a sacrifice bunt. Rob Elliott (Bradley) also had a multi-hit game, posting a 2-for-5 day with his league-leading 18th stolen base of the season. Gonzalez finished the game 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
Willmar and Brainerd will play again Sunday afternoon to conclude the two-game set with the first pitch being at 1:05 p.m.
The 2011 season is presented by Charter.