Stingers Top the Express
Eau Claire, WI—Willmar made the trip to Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wisconsin for the first time this summer. The Stingers defeated the Express 5-2 in the first of a four-game series.
Polo Portela (Cumberland) made his ninth start for the Stingers on the mound. He gave up one earned run in five innings of work. Portela issued two walks and struck out three Express batters. The game was scoreless through the first two innings of play. Sam Baier (Augustana, SD) was the first to touch home. He advanced home on a fielder’s choice as the Express shortstop committed an error as he tried to throw Baier out at third. (1-0 Stingers)
The Stingers extended their lead when Brennan McKenzie (Pomona) advanced on the base path during a Chase Stanke (Minnesota) single. McKenzie scored on that same play due to an error by the second basemen. 2-0 Stingers. The Express scored their first run of the game in the fifth. A triple followed by an infield ground ball brought the score to 2-1. Bryant Claunch (North Alabama) was first in relief for Willmar. He pitched two scoreless innings without allowing a hit.
In the top of the seventh, McKenzie launched a two-run double down the left field line. Baier and Boissiere scored on the play that moved the Stingers’ lead to 4-1. Aldo Fernandez (New Mexico State) pitched the last two innings for the Stingers. The Express came within two runs of the Stingers when a double scored a run in the eighth. 4-2 Stingers. Boissiere scored an insurance run for the Stingers in the top of the ninth. He ran home on a throw down to second as the Express tried to catch McKenzie stealing a base.
The Stingers went on to win the game 5-2. Tomorrow the Stingers will take on the Express in a double header. Game 1 will have a 1:05pm start time followed by a 7:05pm evening game.