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Shepherd’s Three-Run Homer Leads Stingers to 6-0 Win At Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. – Blake Shepherd (Viterbo) blasted a three-run homer to left field in the sixth inning to give Willmar a 5-0 lead, which they increased in the ninth inning to ultimately defeat the Duluth Huskies by a 6-0 score at Wade Stadium Wednesday night. Shepherd now has five home runs and 15 RBIs in 14 games with the Stingers.

Dan Russell (Western Illinois) earned the victory after pitching seven scoreless innings, his longest outing of the year. Russell improved to 2-2 on the season after scattering six hits and two walks while striking out six in seven innings. Jake Stinnett (Maryland) pitched the final two innings, allowing only one hit and one walk, to complete the shutout.

The Stingers grabbed their first lead of the game after recent addition Ryan Dettman (Oregon State) led off the fourth inning with a walk and stole second base before Sean Dwyer (Florida Gulf Coast) drove him home with a double. Dwyer then scored two batters later on an RBI single by Shepherd.

In the sixth inning, Jason Leblebijian (Bradley) reached on a walk with one out. Two batters later, with two outs in the inning, John Haberman (Pacific) reached on an error, extending the inning for Shepherd. Shepherd cleared the bases with his fifth homer of the season to break the game open. Rob Elliott (Bradley) stole his league-leading 19th base of the season in the ninth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dettman to make the final score 6-0.

The Stingers will 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.