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Ninth-Inning Rally Falls Short in 7-4 Loss at Rochester

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Willmar scored three times in the ninth inning and sent the tying run to the plate, but the Stingers dropped the first game of a three-game series against the Honkers, 7-4, at Mayo Field Saturday night.

Trailing 7-1 entering the final frame, Zach Benson (Stephen F. Austin) led off the inning with a walk, and Matt Jackson (Washington) followed with a single. Two batters later, Mitch Rowan (San Francisco) hit an RBI double to right-center field to bring home Benson and move Jackson from first to third. Hunter Dozier’s (Stephen F. Austin) RBI groundout made it a 7-3 ballgame and advanced Rowan to third.

With two outs, Corben Green (Louisiana Monroe) hit an infield single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games and pick up his 20th RBI in 16 games this season. Dillon Haupt (San Diego) stepped to the plate as the tying run with two on in a 7-4 contest, but a groundout ended the Stingers’ comeback effort.

The Stingers fell behind early when Rochester scored an unearned run in the first inning. Jordan Parr led off the second with a solo home run to left field to make it a 2-0 game. The Honkers broke the game open in the third with back-to-back walks to begin the frame, eventually scoring three runs on three hits to take a 5-0 lead.

Jerad McCrummen (Texas Tech) lasted four innings in his start, surrendering four earned runs on nine hits while striking out one and walking two. McCrummen suffered his first loss of the season, falling to 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA. Kody Gorden (Nevada) struck out three in two innings of relief with his only run allowed coming on Trevor Podratz’s eighth home run of the season. Mark Lukowski (Creighton) pitched a scoreless inning of relief in the eighth to lower his team-best ERA to 2.19.

Willmar scored its first run of the game when Michael Suchy (Florida Gulf Coast) singled to left field to drive home Benson, who led off the inning with a single up the middle. The RBI marked Suchy’s league-leading 37th of the year. Suchy went 2-for-3 in the contest to increase his team-leading batting average to .357.

Willmar will take on the Honkers in an afternoon contest Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

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.