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Stingers tie Huskies late, fall in extra innings

DULUTH, Minn. — A night after falling a run short of making a late-inning rally, the Stingers came all the way back to draw even with Duluth on Saturday night at Wade Stadium.

But after tying the game at three in the eighth inning, Willmar (5-7) eventually fell 5-4 to the Huskies (6-6) in 12 innings.

Trailing 3-0 heading to the eighth, the Stingers stormed back for three runs to tie the score. Willmar went into the eighth with just three hits and then recorded six hits in the inning.

Billy Quirke started the scoring rally with a bunt single and the top of the order followed with three straight hits. Pinch hitter Ty Tice singled, Danny Pardo singled and then Justin Toerner sliced a double down the right field line to bring home Quirke and Tice to make it 3-2.

Greg Lambert followed that with a sacrifice fly to tie the score at three. After Kole Cottam walked, Cole Gray singled to give the Stingers a 4-3 lead.

Duluth would answer back with a run of its own in the bottom of the eighth, and neither team scored in the ninth to send the game to extras.

Jake Rothwell, who entered the game in the eighth, pitched strong in relief for the Stingers, and struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings. After allowing a run in the eighth, Rothwell struck out two of the final three Huskies hitters in the inning to get out of a bases loaded jam with the game still tied.

Rothwell stranded two more in the ninth inning to send the game to extras and left another runner aboard in the 10th.

With neither team scoring in the 10th or the 11th, the Huskies finally broke the deadlock in the 12th to win the game on a walk-off. Nic Strasser doubled with two outs, and Daniel Gardner singled him home to end the game.

Tyler Hanson scattered eight hits over four innings in his first start of the year, and Bradley Bailey threw three scoreless frames in relief with four strikeouts.

The Stingers pitching staff stranded a season-high 17 runners on base in the defeat.

Willmar heads to Mankato on Sunday with the chance to win its third straight game against the MoonDogs. The Stingers return home on Monday for a two-game series against Mankato.

Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Jake Rothwell. 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.