LITTLE FALLS, NJ – In a wild and unusual game, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks escaped with a narrow 13-12 victory over the New Jersey Jackals before 854 fans at Yogi Berra Stadium on Tuesday night.
The bizarre sequences began with a flash rain storm before the game. The game was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. central time but was delayed 40 minutes. Play-by-play man Jack Michael’s radio equipment was doused in the storm and the voice behind the microphone broadcasts the game via his cell phone.
Julio Rodriguez started on the bump for the Jackals and the ‘Hawks got him early and often. Rodriguez came into today’s game with a spotless 4-0 record and a 1.48 ERA and exited with a 3.34 ERA. Pineda began the first with a single and would proceed to steal second. Chad Mozingo, who had a monster game going 4-for-5 with three runs scored and six RBIs, then doubled plating Pineda making it 1-0. Joe Dunigan and Joe Bonfe would double back-to-back for three doubles in a row and after the top half of the first the ‘Hawks held a 3-0 lead.
The Jackals responded in the home half of the first inning. Peter Mooney led off with a single followed by an Anthony Gomez single to right. Mooney took off on the crack of Gomez’s bat and wheeled to third. Dunigan fielded the ball in right and made a throwing error allowing Mooney to score making it 3-1. AJ Kirby Jones followed by reaching on a fielding error from Zach Penprase and Mark Threlkeld walked loading the bases. Leandro Castro sent a grounder to second that was misplayed by Pineda and rolled into right field. The error plated two and the game was tied 3-3. The Jackals would plate two more in the frame and off of five unearned runs and took a 5-3 lead.
In the midst of the wild second inning, Manager Doug Simunic was ejected. The RedHawks had plate umpire Ian Kelly in their last series versus Sussex County, and Kelly was calling balls and strikes in the game Tyler Herron started. Their were some disagreements about the strike zone in the last start, and the animosity remained. Herron threw multiple pitches on the outside corner, which Kelly called balls. Simunic met Herron at the mound and when Kelly came to the hill to break up the meeting he used some choice words that resulted in the ejection.
The RedHawks would regain the lead in the second. Andrus, Penprase, and Pineda led off with singles loading the bases for Chad Mozingo. It was one of those nights for Mozingo as he lined a single plating Penprase and Andrus tying the game. Dunigan would follow with a walk re-loading the bases for Joe Bonfe who delivered a two RBI base hit giving Fargo-Moorhead a 7-5 lead after two innings.
The RedHawks would plate one run in the fourth on one swing. Chad Mozingo belted a leadoff homer, his second of the season, pushing the lead to 7-5. Mozingo finished the game a triple shy of the cycle.
F-M starter Tyler Herron had two outs in the fourth and seemed to be on his way to back-to-back 1-2-3 innings before the Jackals received some clutch two-out runs. Mooney advanced to first on a walk followed by an Anthony Gomez single. Kirby-Jones then singled plating Mooney and Gomez, who scored on a throwing error from Dunigan making it 8-7. Threlkeld, the reigning Can-Am player of the week, then doubled bringing Kirby-Jones home evening the score 8-8.
The Hawks would regain the lead in the top of the fifth. Zach Penprase doubled followed by walk putting Pineda on first. Chad Mozingo then laced a two RBI double scoring both Penprase and Pineda making it 10-8.
Fargo-Moorhead extended the lead in the sixth. Alex Powers came on in relief for Jackals’ starter Brandon Sisk and would give up back-to-back singles to Joe Bonfe and Joe Staley. Tyler Peterson would then lay down a sac-bunt that was misplayed. Bonfe and Staley would score and Peterson would advance to third. Frazier Hall was hit by a pitch and Connor Andrus grounded into the tailor-made 6-4-3 double play scoring Peterson making it 13-8.
New Jersey would tack on a pair of runs in the home half of the seventh making it 13-10.
After a scoreless eighth, Mike Nesseth came on to close the game down. Nesseth gave up three consecutive singles and two runs before catching Tony Caldwell looking on strike three ending the wild game.
Fargo-Moorhead reaches 20 wins and improves to 20-37 while New Jersey drops to 30-23. The series finale is tomorrow morning at 10:05 a.m. central with Tyler Alexander (0-3, 2.61 ERA) facing the former RedHawk Brian Ernst (5-5, 3.27 ERA). With a win Fargo-Moorhead wins the series three games to one and would split with a loss.
After the game the team would travel to Rockland for a three game weekend series starting on Thursday before returning to the Fargo-Moorhead area. The team will start a six game home stand beginning with the Grand Prairie AirHogs on Wednesday, July 29th.