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Mankato Pushes Past Willmar to Open Series

(Willmar, M.N.)- While the Stingers controlled much of the game Friday night, they ultimately were did in by a big Mankato sixth inning to drop game one of the series by a score of 9-7.

In a game that was delayed half an hour due to wet field conditions, that didn’t stop either team from getting hot early. Mankato scored in the top of the first, but Willmar matched their run with a Jayson Newman RBI double to tie the game early.

The fireworks for Willmar took place in the fourth as Jake Meyer blasted his first home run of the season, a two-run bomb, to center and Griffin Cheney cracked a solo homer to mark his second straight game with a long ball.

Willmar took their 4-1 lead to the sixth, but that’s when things really fell apart for the Stingers. Mankato scored eight runs in the sixth inning against three pitchers. The MoonDogs had 12 batters come to the plate in the inning, notching six hits to give them a 9-4 lead after six.

The Stingers added a run in the eighth on a Cesar Lopez knock, but it was the ninth inning that saw Willmar’s best chance for a comeback. Kyle Manzardo hit a solo home run to center on the first pitch of the inning and Jayson Newman followed it up with a double. Hunter Ranweiler would then drive him in with a sac fly, but, the Stinger comeback fell short as Jake Meyer struck out to end the game.

Seth Miller, the Stinger starter, went five innings of work, allowing five runs and taking the loss. Jayson Newman finished 4-5 from the plate with three doubles. Friday’s game marks the second straight night that Willmar hit three home runs in a game.

Game two of the series is tomorrow night in Mankato with first pitch a go for 6:35.