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Kody Gorden Shuts Down Mankato for First Ever Stingers Playoff Win, 4-0

MANKATO, Minn. – Kody Gorden struck out eight batters in eight shutout innings to lead the Willmar Stingers to their first playoff victory in franchise history, 4-0, against the Mankato MoonDogs Tuesday night at Franklin Rogers Park.

Gorden (Nevada) only allowed six hits and walked only one while keeping the MoonDogs off the scoreboard for eight innings on 118 pitches. Hunter Dozier (Stephen F. Austin) pitched the ninth and struck out the final batter to complete the first team shutout since July 20, 2011.

Gorden only had one inning where more than one man reached base. In the fifth, with the Stingers leading 2-0, the MoonDogs loaded the bases with a walk and two singles to put the tying run in scoring position and the go-ahead run on first base. Gorden struck out Kyle Turner on three pitches to end the threat and keep the Stingers in front.

Seven of Gorden’s eight K’s were swinging strikeouts, and Gorden ended an inning three times with a punchout, including John Michael Twichell as the last batter he faced in the eighth to cap off his brilliant performance.

Forrestt Allday (Central Arkansas) and Kenny Roberts (Alabama) led the offensive attack with two hits apiece. Allday also had two stolen bases and scored once, while Roberts scored in the fourth inning and added a two-run double in the seventh.

Willmar took the lead in the fourth inning when Roberts led off the frame with a double. Corben Green (Louisiana Monroe) advanced Roberts to third with a groundout to the right side of the infield. Dozier, who played shortstop the first eight innings, drove Roberts home with an RBI groundout to give the Stingers the 1-0 advantage.

The Stingers added to the lead one frame later when Phil Pupillo (St. Louis) and Allday had back-to-back walks to begin the fifth. Two batters later, a throwing error on a groundball off the bat of Mitch Rowan (San Francisco) allowed Pupillo to score from second base, giving the Stingers a 2-0 lead.

Willmar’s final two runs came in the seventh after Allday led off with a walk and stole second and third base in the frame. Michael Suchy (Florida Gulf Coast) also walked in the inning, and Roberts drove them both home with a double down the left-field line. Roberts is 8-for-19 at Franklin Rogers Park this year with six homers, two doubles and 15 RBIs.

Willmar will face Mankato in the decisive Game 3 Wednesday night at Franklin Rogers Park at 7:05 p.m. The winner will advance to face the La Crosse Loggers in the Summer Collegiate World Series, which begins Thursday.

The 2012 season is presented by Charter. For more information on your Willmar Stingers be sure to visit the West Central Tribune at www.wctrib.com.