WILLMAR, Minn.—The Stingers' offense has been on a roll as of late, entering Friday's home game with Thunder Bay having scored at least seven runs in each of the last five home affairs. But the bats fell silent in the finale of the two-game series, as the Stingers split with the Border Cats with the 8-2 defeat.
Willmar (37-18 overall, 15-10 second half) did not get shut down completely throughout the game and, in fact, finished with 10 hits in the game. However, the Stingers could not string together the hits against Border Cats' starter Yuji Suzuki and stranded a total of eight runners on base throughout the game. Trailing by just two runs going to the bottom of the third, the Stingers mounted one of their several rallies of the night as Dan Motl doubled with two outs to start the rally. Reagan Fowler then followed with one of his two singles of the game, but Motl got thrown out trying to score to end the frame.
Then in the seventh with the deficit at six, the Stingers got their best opportunity of the game when they loaded the bases. After Casey Hughston grounded out to start the frame, Brett Barbier singled cleanly back up the middle. On the heels of Brian Pruett's flyout, Max Dutto reached on his first hit of the game to put two on with two away. Sean Beesley got hit by a pitch afterward to load the bags. Dan Motl came up and ripped the second pitch he saw to third base, but Kyle Corner fielded the ball cleanly and threw to second to end the inning.
Thunder Bay (18-36, 4-15) added two more runs in the top of the ninth to make it an 8-0 lead, although the Stingers did not go down quietly in the bottom of the ninth. Hughston worked the count and earned a lead-off walk and then Barbier blasted a home run over the left field wall to get the Stingers on the board.
Garrett Anderson had a strong start on the mound for Willmar and gave up just two runs in five innings while striking out one batter, but was unfortunately on the line for the loss with the lack of run support.
The Stingers take to La Crosse for a mini two-game road trip before returning home Tuesday for a five-game homestand.
The 2014 season is presented by Charter. For more coverage of the Stingers visit www.wctrib.com.
Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Brett Barbier. 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.