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Published On: August 5th, 2014

WILLMAR, Minn.—Fans at Bill Taunton Stadium Monday night got treated to the best pitcher's duel all season, but the Stingers could not tally a run against Mankato, with a ninth inning bases loaded rally falling short in a 1-0 loss to the MoonDogs.

Phoenix Sanders took to the bump for the second time this season for Willmar (43-24 overall, 21-16 second half) and looked even better out of the gate than he did his first go round. After working a one, two, three first inning, Sanders continued on a roll and ended up going perfect through the first 3-2/3 innings. Peter Maris recorded the first hit of the game for the MoonDogs in the top of the fourth, but after walking Tanner Rockwell, Sanders came back to get Brinn Bell to flyout to end the inning.

However, the Stingers offense didn't fare much better against MoonDogs starter James McMahon, who allowed just three hits in his eight scoreless innings on the mound. Willmar got a hit right away in the first inning but couldn't turn it into a run, and then in the fourth inning, the Stingers got one of their better chances of the night. Nick Rivera walked with one out and, after Casey Hughston flied out, Max Ayoub singled to put runners on first and second. But again the Stingers couldn't cash in and the game remained tied at zero.

Sanders ended his night with seven scoreless innings and four strikeouts, and although Colton Boucher was strong out of the bullpen, he couldn't keep the game tied at zero. In the top of the eighth the MoonDogs got their second two-hit inning of the night and that was enough to win the game. Brett Murray singled to lead off the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then came around to score on Peter Maris' double to right.

Willmar attemped to rally in the bottom of the ninth and put runners on the corners with nobody out, but Jacob Westerhouse got three of the next four batters to prevent the third ninth inning rally in the last five home games.

The 2014 season is presented by Charter. For more coverage of the Stingers visit

Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Phoenix Sanders. 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