Gonzalez’s Single Caps Off Ninth Inning Comeback Victory Against St. Cloud, 5-4

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mitch Rowan (Willamette) tied the game with a single to right field to score Jarid Scarafiotti (Stephen F. Austin), and two batters later Eduardo Gonzalez (Alcorn State) singled up the middle to score Rowan and give the Stingers a 5-4 come-from-behind victory in front of a soldout crowd of 1,310 against St. Cloud Tuesday night at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Gonzalez finished the game 2-for-5 with two RBIs to increase his season total to 30. Rowan went 3-for-4 in the contest with two runs scored and the game-tying RBI. Pat Stover (Santa Clara) reached base three times in the game with a 1-for-2 performance that included two walks.

Tanner Banks (Salt Lake College) earned the victory after pitching a scoreless top of the ninth to keep the score at 4-3 to set up the comeback. Banks struck out one and allowed one hit to improve his record to 5-2. Thomas Taylor (Kansas) started the game for the Stingers and surrendered only two runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings while striking out three. Ricky Knapp (Florida Gulf Coast) gave up a two-run homer to give the River Bats a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning, but he struck out two in one inning of relief to increase his season strikeout-to-walk ratio to 47-to-4.

All five runs for the Stingers came with two outs in the inning. In the fifth, Rowan walked to put two on with two out for Jason Leblebijian (Bradley), who cranked a double to left field to score both Rowan and Blake Shepherd (Viterbo) and give Willmar its first lead of the game, 2-1. The next batter, Gonzalez, singled to score Leblebijian. Leblebijian increased his team-leading totals in runs and RBIs to 50 and 36, respectively, in the game.

Willmar will begin a three-game road series at Thunder Bay Wednesday night at 6:05 p.m. The Stingers will return to Bill Taunton Stadium Saturday to finish the season with two home games as part of Fan Appreciation Weekend presented by Marcus Construction. Saturday’s game is Poster Night and Post-Game Fireworks presented by Marcus Construction & Lakeland Broadcasting. The first 500 fans will receive a Stingers poster. There will also be a special fireworks show after the game.

The 2011 season is presented by Charter.