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Catch 22: Garcia dominates again, Stingers roll over Honkers

Willmar, Minn. — Kiko Garcia is the new Will Lydon. 

After Lydon started out his season with five wins in his first five starts, Garcia has become the new go-to guy in the rotation in the absence of Lydon. Garcia continued his dominance of late with his second straight win Friday night at Bill Taunton Stadium in a 3-1 Stingers win over Rochester. 

Outside of the second inning home run Garcia allowed to the Honkers' Slade Heggen, he was nothing short of sterling for the second straight start. Following eight shutout innings in his last start against Eau Claire, Garcia came back with eight sharp innings against the Honkers and allowed just one run on three hits. In his last 21 innings pitched spanning three starts, he has allowed just two runs. 

With the Pepperdine right-hander on his game again, little was required of the Stingers offense, which came through for its starter. Willmar (28-16, 5-5 second half) jumped on Honkers starter Matt Fiedler right off the bat in the first inning and tagged him for an early run to take the lead. Dan Motl led off the bottom of the first with a walk and came into score on a two-out single by Reagan Fowler to make it 1-0. 

Both starters settled in after the second inning and neither team scored until the sixth. But that's when the Stingers struck again to make sure Garcia's performance would be rewarded with a win. Again it came by way of more two-out hitting. After Fowler and Troy Dixon had reached on walks with one out in the sixth, Tyler Leffler struck out, which left it up to Lucas Tancas to bring in the run. He did just that by shooting a single back up the middle to untie the score and give the Stingers a lead they wouldn't relinquish. 

After Brian Pruett homered to make it a 3-1 lead, Garcia escaped his biggest threat of the night in the top of the eight to ensure the win. With runners at second and third and just one out, Garcia got a line out to third and then a ground out to second to end the frame unscathed. Brady Anderson then locked down his 10th straight save in the ninth to finish the win. 

The homestand continues tomorrow night with Jennie-O Turkey Store Night at Bill Taunton Stadium, as the Stingers take on the Thunder Bay Border Cats in a double header. Both games will be seven-inning contests, and the first game will start at 7:05 p.m.

The 2015 season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers visit the West Central Tribune online at www.wctrib.com.

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Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Kiko Garcia. 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.