Duluth, Minn. — The Stingers started the 2015 season strong, but came up empty-handed despite a strong pitching performance.
Offense was hard to come back all night long, and host Duluth scored the only run of the game in the bottom half of the ninth inning to walk-off against Willmar, 1-0.
Even in the loss, the Stingers pitching staff picked up right where it left off in 2014, a year that saw them win the most games in franchise history and set the lowest ERA mark in team history. Jonny Ortiz (Daytona State) gave the Stingers all he had with six innings of shutout baseball, as he didn't walk a batter in first start of the season. He struck out three batters and scattered four hits, allowing just one runner past first base in his quality start.
Colton Boucher relieved Ortiz in the seventh, and although he yielded the first two walks of the night in the eighth, he came back strong in a bases loaded jam in the same inning to slam the door shut on the Huskies' scoring opportunity.
But the Huskies got a leadoff infield single from Alex Wojciechowski, who came all the way around to score in the bottom of the ninth to win the game for Duluth.
Even in the loss without scoring a run, the Stingers still got hits from five different players, including Dan Motl, Justin Thaxton, Lucas Tancas, Brian Pruett and Sean Beesley.
Willmar returns to the Beehive Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. for the home opener presented by Marcus Constuction with special guest Jacque Jones. Limited tickets are still available either online at willmarstingers.com, by phone at 320-222-2010 or at the Stingers' Box Office at Bill Taunton Stadium.
The 2015 season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers visit www.wctrib.com.
Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Jonny Ortiz. 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.