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Stockert stymies Border Cats, Stingers win second-straight

WILLMAR, Minn. — Every time Blake Stockert has taken the mound this season, he has given the Stingers a chance to win. 

Stockert (North Dakota State) hurled six scoreless innings on Thursday night against Thunder Bay, extending his scoreless inning streak to 14 innings, and the Stingers (24-21, 6-3 second half) won by way of a shutout for the southpaw's second-straight start in an 8-0 triumph over the Border Cats (9-34, 3-6) at Bill Taunton Stadium. 

The only run of support Stockert needed came in the second inning on an RBI groundout by Cole Gray. After the Stingers secured the early lead, Stockert locked it down from there. He finished with five strikeouts and faced the minimum in three separate innings. 

With the game still close in his final inning of work, Stockert allowed the first two batters against him to reach. But a spectacular diving catch by Gray (Midland) in the left-center field took away a base hit, and Stockert retired the next two batters he faced to get out of the jam. Stockert also stranded the bases loaded in the fourth. 

Willmar added some insurance after the top of the sixth, scoring twice in the bottom of the sixth and four times in the seventh to put the game out of reach. Greg Lambert (Southern Illinois) drove in his team-leading 38th RBI in the sixth on a groundout, and Eddie Estrada (Minnesota) followed later in the inning with an RBI infield single. 

The Stingers recent home run binge continued in the seventh inning when Dylan Woods (Nova Southeastern) crushed a grand slam to straight-away right field to make it 8-0. With Woods' seventh-inning blast, Willmar has now hit homers in nine consecutive games.

Bradley Bailey (North Alabama) threw two scoreless innings in relief, and Ricky Reynoso (Pacific) pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the Stingers' fourth shutout of the year. 

Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Blake Stockert. 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 Stingers finish off the three-game homestand on Friday night with Summertime St. Patty's Night presented Bernick's Miller Lite. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. 

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.