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Stingers sign three to ’14 pitching staff

WILLMAR — The 2014 Willmar Stingers roster is starting to take shape with the addition of three sophomore pitchers, the team announced Wednesday.

Starting pitcher Jordan Johnson and righthanded reliever Anthony Cortez out of Cal State Northridge and Illinois State righthander Steve Heilenbach will join the Willmar staff.

The Stingers’ roster sits at 24 — the NWL roster limit is 30 — with about two-and-a-half months remaining before opening day.

Johnson, a 42nd round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2011, has the highest pedigree of the group.

A mainstay in the Matadors’ rotation this season as a redshirt sophomore, the Elk Grove, Calif., product has a 3.82 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 30.2 innings.

Cortez, a sophomore out of Downey High School in Los Angeles, has seen 7 innings of bullpen work so far with a 2.57 ERA and 7 strikeouts.

Heilenbach has seen one start and three appearances total this season, and has a 2.79 ERA and 6 strikeouts over 9.2 innings.

As a freshman last season, Heilenbach took a perfect game into the seventh and final inning of his first collegiate start. He finished 2013 with a 0.52 ERA in 17.1 innings.

Murray Atlantic Sun Pitcher of the Week

Florida Gulf Coast starter Michael Murray was named the Atlantic Sun Conference’s Pitcher of the Week on Monday for the second time this season.

The 2013 Stinger is off to a scorching start carrying a 4-0 record, 0.25 ERA and 39 strikeouts over 5 starts and 36.2 innings.

He struck out 13 in 7 innings against Florida A&M on Friday.


n Kentucky’s Max Kuhn is hitting .349 with a .476 on-base percentage and .518 slugging percentage. He has 2 homers, 18 RBIs and has 18 walks with just 15 strikeouts.

n Ohio State’s Troy Kuhn is hitting .270 with 2 home runs and a team-leading 14 RBIs in 63 at-bats.

n Florida Gulf Coast’s Zack Tillery is hitting .333 in part-time duty. On the mound, he has a 1.64 ERA and 9 strikeouts over 2 starts.

n After a rough start, San Francisco pitcher Abe Bobb has improved to 2-2 with a 4.76 ERA and 32 strikeouts.

n Two of the Stingers’ most dangerous hitters from last season — Michael Suchy and Marc Flores — have yet to find their power stroke. Flores is hitting .261 and slugging .362 with no home runs for Hawaii, and Suchy is hitting .256 and slugging .390 with 1 homer for FGCU. Both still remain middle-of-the-order threats, each leading their team in RBIs — Flores with 12 and Suchy with 13. 

n Loyola Marymount’s Bret Dahlson leads the Lions with 14 appearances, notching a 2.16 ERA, 16 strikeouts and 2 saves.

n N.C. State’s Andrew Woeck has a 1.04 ERA and 23 whiffs in seven relief appearances.

n A foursome of former Stingers at St. Cloud State are off to excellent starts: Chris Kubitz has a 1.76 ERA in 15 innings, Kyle Fischer has a 2.74 ERA in 23 innings, Garrett Fischer is hitting .453 in 53 at-bats, and Karl Sorensen is hitting .439 in 41 at-bats.

n Maryland’s Jake Stinnett continues to shine. The senior righthander has a 2.91 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 34 innings.

n Louisiana Tech’s Richie Navari is 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in 34.2 innings.


Stingers on TV

3/23: 1 p.m. ESPN3, Florida Gulf Coast (Michael Suchy, Zack Tillery, Michael Murray, Brady Anderson, Colton Bottomley, Nick Rivera, Brian Pruett) at USC Upstate

3/28: 6 p.m. ESPN3, Miami at NC State (Andrew Woeck)

3/30: 1 p.m. ESPN3, Miami at NC State (Woeck)

3/30: 2 p.m. ESPNU, Kentucky (Max Kuhn) at Vanderbilt

4/2: 6 p.m. ESPN3, East Carolina at NC State (Woeck)

4/3: 8 p.m. ESPNU, South Carolina at Arkansas (Colin Poche)

4/6: 3 p.m. ESPNU, NC State (Woeck) at Clemson

4/7: 3 p.m. ESPNU, NC State (Woeck) at Clemson

4/12: 1 p.m. ESPN2, Arkansas (Poche) at LSU

4/19: 6:30 p.m. ESPN3, Boston College at NC State (Woeck)

4/19: 8 p.m. ESPNU, Baylor (Bobby McCormack, Joe Kirkland) at Kansas State

4/20: 1 p.m. ESPN, Vanderbilt at Arkansas (Poche)

4/20: 1 p.m. ESPN3, Boston College at NC State (Woeck)

4/22: 6 p.m. ESPN3, Campbell at NC State (Woeck)

4/23: 6 p.m. ESPN3, UNC-Wilmington at NC State (Woeck)

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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