Beetles use 17 hits to thrash Stingers, 17-4
ALEXANDRIA -- The Alexandria Beetles made quick work of ending the Willmar Stingers' four-game winning streak, scoring 12 runs in the first three innings and cruising to a 17-4 win Sunday at Knute Nelson Memorial Field.
The Stingers, who defeated the Beetles 3-1 in Willmar on Saturday, fell to 13-11 in the Northwoods League's second-half standings, 3½ games behind the North Division-leading Beetles with 13 games to play. The Stingers continue their current four-game road swing with three games at Rochester beginning at 7:05 p.m. today.
The Beetles clipped Stingers starter Steve Lieser for three runs in the first inning, then scored three more runs off reliever Josh Hoekstra in the second.
Six runs were plenty, but Alexandria really unloaded on the next Stingers pitchers sent to the mound. John Haberman surrendered six earned runs in the third inning and Michael Shreves allowed five runs on six hits in his four innings of work.
Willmar's Sean Dwyer hit a two-run homer in the ninth and Eduardo Gonzalez, the Northwoods League's top hitter, also hit a solo homer. Mitch Rowan was 2-for-2.
While the pitching failed the Stingers Sunday, it was their strength in Saturday's win.
Starter Dan Russell improved to 6-2, allowing a run on four hits over five innings and striking out six Beetles. Relievers Jack Shannon, Ricky Knapp and Tanner Banks combined to allow just one hit over the final four innings. Banks earned his first save.
All nine Stingers starters had at least one hit and the middle of the order was particularly effective. Willmar's No. 2, 3 and 4 hitters -- Jason Leblebjian, Gonzalez and Pat Stover -- all had two hits. Stover drove in two runs and Leblebijian and Gonzalez both scored runs.