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NWL Baseball: Stingers fizzle against Rox

Tribune photo by Ben Brewster St. Cloud’s Will Craig, right, congratulates teammate Boo Vazquez after Vazquez scored on Morgan Phillips’ single in the fifth inning against the Willmar Stingers on Friday at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.

WILLMAR — A matchup of two All-Star pitchers turned into a slugfest, and the St. Cloud Rox roughed up the Willmar Stingers 11-5 on Friday at Bill Taunton Stadium.

Willmar’s Andrew Towns surrendered nine hits and nine runs — just three earned — with the big blow coming on Eric Loxtercamp’s third-inning grand slam.

Boo Vazquez also homered for the Rox, a two-run shot off Towns in the second.

St. Cloud All-Star starter Reese Gregory, who came into the game leading the league with a 1.45 ERA, held the Stingers scoreless through three before giving up a two-run homer to Jack Ross in the fourth and a three-run shot to Nick Rivera, his seventh of the season, in the fifth.

Both pitchers were hurt by errors — Willmar third baseman Troy Kuhn couldn’t handle Kade Sciviqcue’s hot grounder leading off the third, and the Rox went on to score five runs in the inning, all unearned.

All three runs that scored on Rivera’s homer were unearned for Gregory, as the inning was extended by right fielder Morgan Phillips’ dropped fly ball.

The Rox scattered 15 hits, with two each for Chris Paul, Scivicque, Seth Heck, Vazquez and Liam Bedford.

Ross had the only multi-hit night for Willmar, also hitting a sixth-inning double.

The Stingers fell to 5-5 and are in fifth place in the Northwoods League North Division second half.

They play two at Waterloo over the weekend, and return home on Monday to host St. Cloud at 7:05 p.m.

Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster covers the Willmar Stingers and other area sports, as well as laying out the daily sports section cover for the West Central Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @benbrewster.

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