Home, sweet home: Stingers defeat Loggers 4-2
WILLMAR, Minn.—In the first home game since June 9, the Stingers did not disappoint the home crowd, and battled for a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over South Division leading La Crosse in a matchup of the Northwoods' top two teams.
Austin Klein kept up his torrid start to the season and picked up his third win of the year in another masterful start. Most of the trouble Klein ran into Tuesday night came right away in the top half of the first inning. Walks have not been much of an issue for the Stingers' pitching staff so far this year, but Klein walked two after recording the first two outs of the inning to load the bases. Nash Knight had singled with one out in the first and was the lead runner at third base, coming in to score the first run of the game off of Luke Persico's RBI single. But with the bases still loaded, Klein came back to get Ryan Kirby to pop out and end the threat.
The Loggers (19-9) added another run in the top of the fifth following a leadoff double by Adrian Chacon. Chacon moved to third on a passed ball and then came into score on a groundout to give the Loggers a two-run cushion.
But the Stingers (18-6) would not let La Crosse's lead last for long, as they came back in the next half inning to erase the deficit and tie the game at two. Brian Pruett, who was 2×3 at the plate in the game, led off the inning with a solid single to right field to begin the rally and then moved to second base on Frankie Rios' walk. Both runners got chased home when Reagan Fowler followed with a booming double to the alley in left field, his team-leading sixth double of the season, to tie the game at two.
The very next inning Willmar came back with another two runs for its starter to put Klein in the position for the win. Again the Stingers led off the inning with a single as Casey Hughston notched his second hit of the night. Max Ayoub followed with a walk and both players advanced a base on a wild pitch with Hutton Moyer at the plate. Moyer grounded out with the infield in, preventing either runner from advancing, but Jack Ross came up huge with a single to center field. The infield was still pulled in on Ross' hit, which went right back up the middle and scored both Hughston and Ayoub to give the Stingers the 4-2 lead for good.
The four runs were plenty of offense for Klein, who continued to roll after being given the lead. He went on to tie his longest outing of the season with his 7-2/3 innings of work on the mound and struck out a season high eight batters while surrendering just four hits. At one point in the game from the first inning up until he allowed a single in the seventh, Klein retired 16 of 17 batters including a string of 12 in a row.
When Klein finally exited with two gone in the seventh, the bullpen stood strong in relief with Josh Matheson recording the final out in the eighth and Brady Anderson closing out the game in the ninth. Anderson had a Stingers' season record 15 saves back in 2012 and allowed just one hit in the ninth to record his 16th career save.
With the win, Klein improved to 3-0 while Loggers' starter Ryan Deemes fell to 2-3 on the season.
The Stingers are back at home against the Loggers tomorrow for another 7:05 p.m. start.
The 2014 season is presented by Charter. For more coverage of the Stingers visit the West Central Tribune's website at wctrib.com.
Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Austin Klein. CDI is your local medical imaging provider. It’s your choice where you go for medical imaging, for MRI, CT, mammograms and pain injections, choose CDI. Visit online at myCDI.com/CentralMN.