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Rocked and rolled: Big eighth inning powers Stingers past Rivets

ROCKFORD, Ill. — The best offense in the Northwoods League had one of its best nights of the season on Saturday night in Rockford, as the Stingers tied a season-high in runs scored with a 16-5 win over the Rockford Rivets at Rivets Stadium. 

Leading by three runs going to the eighth inning, Willmar (36-29, 18-11 second half) scored eight times in the eighth inning to bust open the game en route to the third-straight victory. 

Justin Toerner (Cal State Northridge) led the offensive outburst with one of his best showings of the season. Toerner tied his season high with four hits, going 4-for-6 with a double and five RBIs. That RBI total tied his season high. 

Toerner opened the scoring in a six-run third inning, singling home Quincy McAfee (Pepperdine) and Danny Pardo (Montevallo) to make it 2-0. Toerner scored the first of his two runs later in that third inning on a wild pitch, and Luke Becker (Kentucky) and Brandon Perez (USC) also followed with RBIs of their own in the second inning. 

Rockford (29-36, 12-17) responded with three runs in the bottom of the third, but Jake Rothwell (Daytona State) allowed just one more run over his final three innings in his first start of the year to earn his second win of the season. 

The two teams traded runs in the sixth with Pardo tripling to start the sixth and scoring on a passed ball a batter later. 

The Stingers then opened the floodgates in the eighth, sending a season-high 14 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs by way of just five hits. Toerner had one of the big hits of the inning, doubling with the bases loaded to clear the bags for the final three runs of the inning. Toerner had singled to lead off the frame and scored on a two-run single by Perez. Travis Wacker (Oklahoma State) added an RBI single, Pardo had an RBI walk and Greg Lambert (Southern Illinois) had a run-scoring single as well. The RBI for Lambert was his 60th of the year. 

Toerner also pitched in the game, tossing a scoreless ninth to preserve the victory. 

Tonight’s Center for Diagnostic Imaging player of the game was Justin Toerner. 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 the Rivets at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday. 

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.