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Northwoods Baseball: Stingers fading in first-half race

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Stingers' bats were listless for a second straight game as they fell to the Mankato MoonDogs 8-2 Tuesday night at Bill Taunton Stadium.

The Stingers, who lost 6-1 to the Moondogs on Monday, managed seven hits but stranded six runners and now stand five games behind Mankato in the Northwoods League North Division race with seven games left in the season's first half.

The Stingers are off today and are expected to open a two-game set in Duluth on Thursday.

The Stingers were on a bit of roll the last week, winning eight of their last 10 games, and had pulled within three games of the MoonDogs after a 6-5 win to open the series on Sunday.

But Willmar has managed just three runs the last two days and now face a tough road if it hopes to win the division's first-half race and secure a postseason berth.

Willmar led 1-0 after one inning, but Mankato's Zach Hall shut the Stingers down after that. The MoonDogs scored twice in the third and fourth innings, then pushed the edge to 6-1 with two more in the sixth. Willmar managed just one more run in the seventh before Mankato tacked on insurance runs in the eighth and ninth.

Anthony Consiglio took the loss, working five innings and allowing two earned runs and striking out six.

Michael Suchy and Steven Brault both had a pair of hits for the Stingers.

Hall worked seven innings and gave up four hits and no earned runs while walking just one and striking out five.

The MoonDogs' Nick Ratajczak was 3-for-4 with an RBI and he scored four runs.