WATERLOO, Iowa — The Stingers scored five times over the course of the first three innings and got a solid start from Kiko Garcia to beat the Waterloo Bucks 8-6 on Saturday night for their fourth-straight win.
Willmar (26-21, 8-3 second half) scored once apiece in the first and third innings and got three runs in the second inning, winning for the ninth time in the last 12 games to stay in first place in the North Division.
The Stingers gave Garcia (Pepperdine) some early run support, putting up a run in the first inning on the Bucks (27-19, 5-6) without even needing a hit. Dylan Woods (Nova Southeastern) led off the game by reaching on an error, and Danny Pardo (Montevallo) walked to move Woods to second. Willmar executed a double steal after that, and Woods eventually scored on a wild pitch with Justin Toerner (Cal State Northridge) at the plate.
Making just his second start of the year, Garcia fanned two of the first three batters he faced in the first inning and finished the game with a season-high eight strikeouts in six innings of work. Although the Bucks scored four runs on Garcia, all four runs were unearned and came between the fourth and fifth innings.
The Bucks' rally trimmed the Stingers lead to just 6-4 after the fifth inning, but Willmar added two more runs in the seventh inning that proved to be the crucial runs of the game.
As had been the case for most of the Stingers offense during the night, the seventh inning rally plated the runs after the second out of the inning. Tyler Smith (Pepperdine) doubled to lead off the seventh inning and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it a 7-4 lead. Greg Lambert singled and scored on a Danny Mayer single a batter later to give the Stingers their final run of the night. Six of the Stingers' eight runs came with two outs.
Garcia scattered six hits over his six innings of work, while Max Green (Pepperdine) had one of his best outings of the season in relief of Garcia. Green struck out seven in three innings of work without yielding a walk to pick up his third save of the season.
Greg Lambert was 2-for-5 at the plate in the win, driving in a pair of runs to bring his season RBI total to 42, which now leads the Northwoods League.
Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Greg Lambert. 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 will go for the series sweep of Waterloo on Sunday at 3:35 p.m. before the NWL All-Star break begins on Monday.
The 2016 season is presented by Marcus Construction. For more coverage of the Stingers visit the West Central Tribune online at www.wctrib.com.