DULUTH, Minn. – Jason Leblebijian (Bradley) hit his third homer in two days, but for the second-straight game the Stingers lost a one-run game to the Duluth Huskies at Wade Stadium, 6-5.
The Stingers came back from deficits two different times and held a 4-3 lead in the middle of the sixth inning, but Duluth scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to go ahead 5-4, a lead which they never surrendered. Three Stingers had multi-hit games, including Jarid Scarafiotti (Stephen F. Austin) who went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt. Blake Shepherd (Viterbo) was 2-for-4 with an RBI double, while Rob Elliott (Bradley) went 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Trailing 1-0 in the fourth inning, Shepherd tied the game with a double to left field to score Sean Dwyer (Florida Gulf Coast). However, Duluth responded with two runs on three hits in the bottom half of the inning to reclaim the lead, 3-1.
With the score still 3-1, Garrett Borba (Pacific) led off the fifth inning with a single. Borba then stole his first base of the year to move into scoring position. Two batters later, Leblebijian hit a 380-foot home run to center field to tie the game. Leblebijain has now hit three homers in two games at Wade Stadium after only two home runs had been hit out of the ballpark all season prior to Monday.
The Stingers grabbed their only lead of the game in the sixth inning after Pat Stover (Santa Clara) walked to begin the inning, and John Haberman (Pacific) followed with a base hit. Scarafiotti sacrificed both runners over and three hitters later, Elliott drove Stover home with a two-out single. Duluth came back again, though with two runs on three hits to lead 5-4. The Huskies added an insurance run in the eighth. Stover was able to make it a one-run game with a two-out, bases-loaded walk to score Leblebijian in the ninth, but Willmar could not plate the tying run from third and ultimately dropped its second-straight game to the Huskies.
Willmar will play its last game of the first half of the season Wednesday night at Duluth at 7:05 p.m. The Stingers will then return home to begin the second half of the season Thursday night against Thunder Bay on “Minnesota Twins Night” presented by KDJS 1590AM. Former Minnesota Twin and World Series Champion Steve Lombardozzi will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The game will begin at 7:05 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m.
The 2011 season is presented by Charter.