The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks turned two late double plays, took advantage of three Gary SouthShore RailCats errors and banged out 10 hits to win 8-5 Tuesday night at U. S. Steel Yard, the ‘Hawks second consecutive victory.
In a back-and-forth ballgame, Fargo-Moorhead made enough of the big plays late to hand the RailCats their third consecutive loss. A three-run fifth inning gave the RailCats a dramatic 5-5 tie, but the RedHawks answered right back with a run in the sixth and took control of the game with two more runs – on just one hit – in the seventh. The loss was the RailCats sixth in their last seven games at U. S. Steel Yard.
The RailCats did score first Tuesday when Mike Massaro doubled with two outs in the first inning and came home on a Cristian Guerrero base hit. After Fargo tied it in the top of the second, the RailCats burst back in front in the bottom half when Louis Ott led off with a hustling triple and scored on a Mike Rohde fly ball.
The score remained 2-1 RailCats into the fifth, with Brad Halsey (2-3) settling in to what looked like a third straight strong start. But in the top of the fifth, five straight RedHawks reached with one out on a walk, three singles and two costly errors as Fargo-Moorhead plated four runs to take a 5-2 lead.
The RailCats fifth inning rally came all with two outs, as Massaro coaxed a walk ahead of Guerrero. On the first pitch from Fargo starter T.J. Stanton, Guerrero unloaded on a long home run to left-center, his team-leading seventh of the year, to make the score 5-4. Jeff Beachum followed the homer with a base hit and after Ott was hit by a pitch, the RedHawks went to the bullpen. Lefty Adam Tollefson (3-1) came on and Rohde greeted him with a base hit to score Beachum, but Ott was thrown out at third on the play to end the inning.
Fargo’s reply also came with two outs in the sixth inning. Jay Cox walked and went to third on a Kole Zimmerman base hit before Mike Coles singled home to go-ahead run, ending Halsey’s day. The RailCats starter went 5.2 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits to go along with three walks and five strikeouts. The RedHawks claimed two insurance runs – one unearned – in the seventh to provide the final margin.
Trailing 8-5 the RailCats had one last chance in the ninth and the first two hitters drew walks against RedHawks closer Donnie Smith. So the ‘Hawks went to the bullpen for Cory Patton – an outfielder who started Tuesday’s game as the designated hitter – and Patton got Mike Reese to hit into a double play and Massaro to line out to left on a great catch by Cox to end it. Patton, a college pitcher, earned his first professional save in his nine career pitching appearance.
Guerrero went 2-for-3 with three RBI to pace the RailCats attach, while Zach Penprase went 3-for-5 to lead Fargo. Tollefson earned the win in relief, and Casey Hoorelbeke threw 2.1 scoreless relief innings to bridge the game to the ninth.
The RailCats (23-22) and RedHawks (25-16) wrap up their three-game series Wednesday morning with a special 11 a.m. game. All-Star right-hander Willie Glen (4-2, 3.79 ERA) will get the start for the RailCats with Scott Fogelson (4-2, 3.77 ERA) expected to answer for the RedHawks.
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