The Willmar Stingers scored three unanswered runs, one in the seventh inning and two in the eighth, to pull off a 4-3 come-from-behind victory against the Eau Claire Express on Monday at Carson Park.
The Express, looking to extend their win streak to four games, went out to a 3-1 lead in the first two innings but were unable to hold on. A pair of runs walked home in the eighth doomed the squad.
Eau Claire dropped to 16-23 overall and 4-3 in the second half of the Northwoods League season.
The teams traded runs in the first inning, with Willmar’s Jakob Newton opening the scoring with an RBI single and Nick Marinconz responding with a putout to score Ryan Lin-Peistrup a half inning later. Zach Lechnir and Marinconz built the 3-1 lead in the second with a sacrifice fly and by getting hit by a pitch, respectively.
But Grant Kerry started the comeback effort in the seventh with an RBI single to right, and issues with command from Eau Claire’s Robert Hogan and Nick Herold in the eighth helped Willmar complete the feat. Hogan opened the frame by walking the leadoff batter, then hit the next man up before allowing a single to load the bases.
Herold came on and, despite striking out Jorge Lucero to start his appearance, subsequently allowed walks to Brady Counsell and Carter Howell to give the Stingers the lead.
Eau Claire got the tying run to third in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Carter Graham struck out to end the rally attempt.
Express starter Brandt Pancer allowed one earned run and four hits in six innings of work, striking out three. Eddy Pelc is on the hook for one run and Hogan a pair.
Eddie Park had three hits for the Express, all singles. Max Blessinger had two, also singles.
Eau Claire continues a home-heavy portion of the schedule Tuesday when it closes the two-game series with Willmar at 6:35 p.m. The Express will then head to Duluth for a doubleheader Wednesday before returning to Carson Park for home games on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.