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Express ride early offense to series split with Stingers

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Caleb Boushley pitched seven strong innings and the Eau Claire Express scored four runs in both the first and fifth innings on the way to a 12-5 win and a series split with the Stingers on Sunday night at Carson Park.  

A night after the Willmar (2-4) scored four times in the first inning, the Express (4-2) returned the favor with a four-run first of their own on Sunday night. Boushley needed little run support in the early going, as he yielded just one hit in his first five innings of work against the Stingers’ offense.

Boushley surrendered his first run in the sixth inning, but it came after Eau Claire posted a four-run fifth, giving him an 8-0 cushion to work with. Devin Foyle got the scoring started for the Stingers in the sixth with the first of his two hits on the night. Quincy McAfee followed two batters later with the first of his two run-scoring singles during the game.

After Eau Claire got the run back in the bottom of the sixth, Greg Lambert provided one of the highlights of the night for Willmar. Lambert took a 1-0 pitch from Boushley over the fence in left-center field to give the Stingers their first long ball of the season.

Thanks to a three-error inning by the Express in the top of the seventh, Willmar put two more runs on the board to cut the lead to 9-3, but that was as close as they could get the rest of the way.

Daulton Varsho hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to provide the final scoring for the Express.

The Stingers tried to stage a rally in the ninth, and scored two more runs, as Ty Tice drove in the first and McAfee plated the second. But two was all Willmar would get in the final frame as Danny Pardo flied out to centerfield to end the game.

Foyle and McAfee were the bright spots offensively for the Stingers in the loss. Foyle went 2-for-4, registering his first multi-hit game of the year and scoring a run, while McAfee extended his hitting streak to five games with a 2-for-5 night at the dish.

The Stingers head to Mankato on Monday for a matchup with the MoonDogs before returning home on Tuesday.

Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Quincy McAfee. 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.

The 2016 Stingers season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers visit the West Central Tribune online at www.wctrib.com.