MANKATO, Minn. – Dillon Haupt hit his first of two opposite-field solo home runs to right field to break a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning, and the Stingers never looked back in a 10-4 victory against the MoonDogs at Franklin Rogers Park Friday night.
Michael Suchy (Florida Gulf Coast) and Kenny Roberts (Alabama) put the game out of reach with back-to-back homers in the fifth inning to make it a 7-2 contest. Haupt (San Diego) added his second solo home run of the game in the ninth. Willmar’s four home runs in the contest set a new franchise record for home runs in a season with 26 games still remaining. The Stingers have already hit 40 home runs this year after hitting 37 as a team for the entire 2011 campaign.
Leading 3-2 in the fifth, Forrestt Allday (Central Arkansas) walked and Hunter Dozier (Stephen F. Austin) singled. With two on and two out, Suchy lined a ball off of the batter’s eye beyond the centerfield wall for his sixth home run of the year, giving him 43 RBIs this season. Roberts followed with a solo homer over the left-centerfield fence off of freshly-inserted relief pitcher Trey Nielsen. Roberts now ranks third in the Northwoods League with nine home runs this year.
Mark Lukowski (Creighton) received the victory after going four innings in his first start of the season. Lukowski only allowed two unearned runs on three hits to improve to 3-0 this year with a 3.46 ERA. Jonathon Flinn (Hawaii) pitched well in long relief, tossing 3.2 shutout innings while striking out one.
Willmar jumped out to the early lead in the first inning when Dozier doubled down the leftfield line to score Max Kuhn (Kentucky) from first base. Dozier later scored on a wild pitch the give the Stingers a 2-0 advantage.
Mankato tied the game in the bottom half of the inning with two unearned runs after an error with two outs extended the inning. The game remained tied until Haupt’s home run with one out in the fourth put the Stingers in front for good.
The Stingers added to their lead with two separate RBI singles by Kuhn. Kuhn’s base hit with one out in the sixth scored Matt Jackson (Washington) to give Willmar an 8-2 lead. Kuhn brought home Jackson again in the eighth with a base hit after Jackson singled and stole a base in the inning. Jackson finished the game 2-for-5 with two runs, while Kuhn went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Willmar concludes its two-game series at Mankato Saturday night at 6:05 p.m.
The 2012 season is presented by Charter. For more information on your Willmar Stingers be sure to visit the West Central Tribune at www.wctrib.com.