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RedHawks Shut Out Gary 8-0, Take Series Lead

Nic Jackson hit a three-run seventh inning home run and four Fargo-Moorhead pitchers limited the Gary SouthShore RailCats to just four hits as the RedHawks blanked the ‘Cats 8-0 Friday night in Game Three of the Northern League Championship Series in front of 3,268 fans at U. S. Steel Yard.
The RedHawks take a 2-1 series lead with the victory and move within one win of a fourth Northern League Championship.  The RailCats must win Saturday night to force a decisive Game Five Sunday afternoon, otherwise the ‘Cats will fall just short of their third league title in the last five years.
Friday’s game started as a pitcher’s duel before the RedHawks got on the board in the fourth inning when Jackson, Mike Coles and Ruben Salazar put together three straight singles to score a run.  Fargo took a 2-0 lead in the sixth when Carlo Cota delivered a two-out single to score Jackson, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.
The RailCats, meanwhile, could muster almost nothing against Fargo starter Broc Coffman (1-0), who was pitching for the first time in the postseason.  Coffman allowed only one hit through the first five innings, although he did walk five, including three in the fifth to load the bases with two outs. Coffman got Eric McNamee to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end the fifth, however, and the ‘Cats would not advance another runner to third base the rest of the night.
Fargo put the game out of reach with a four-run seventh against Tony Cogan (2-1), who had pitched well up to that point.  Donzell McDonald singled with one out and then stole second when Cogan appeared to have him picked off, taking the base when he beat Jeff Beachum’s relay throw to second.  One pitch later, Zach Penprase doubled to deep right to score McDonald and make it 3-0.  After Jeremiah Piepkorn was walked intentionally Jackson drove the first pitch out of the yard to give the ‘Hawks an insurmountable 6-0 lead.
Piepkorn added a two-run home run of his own – a colossal drive onto Fourth Avenue – against Tristan Facer in the ninth inning.
All four RailCats hits Friday were singles, and after Coffman went the first 5.1 innings, T.J. Stanton, Adam Tollefson and Nick Fellman closed out the win.  The RedHawks outhit the RailCats 11-4 in the game and have now outhit the ‘Cats 46-18 in the series. 
Cogan went 6.1 innings and allowed nine hits and six earned runs, taking his first loss in three postseason starts.  Cogan walked three and struck out five.  Coffman went 5.1 innings, walking five and striking out four while allowing only three hits.
The RailCats and RedHawks will play game four of the series Saturday night at 6 p.m. at U. S. Steel Yard.  Right-hander Chris Jones (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make the start for the RailCats against Fargo southpaw Jeff Icenogle (0-1, 6.48 ERA).  The game will be broadcast live online at

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