Adam Klein shot a ground ball through a drawn-in infield in the bottom of the 10th inning to send the Gary SouthShore RailCats to a thrilling 5-4 win over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Monday night at U. S. Steel Yard in the opener of a three-game series.
With runners at second and third and one out, Klein liked the first pitch he saw and drove the ball past pitcher Adam Tollefson and into center, scoring Mike Reese easily from third with the winning run. The inning started when Reese notched a one-out single off Matt Petrusek (0-1) before RailCats Manager Greg Tagert called on pinch hitter Zach Rodeghero. With the left-hand hitting Rodeghero now coming up, Fargo-Moorhead went to the bullpen for the southpaw Tollefson, prompting the RailCats to call back Rodeghero and bring on Jay Pecci as a pinch-hitter. The move proved prescient when Pecci stroked a double into the left field corner to set up the game-winning run.
The win was the first walk-off at U. S. Steel Yard for the RailCats since way back on June 1 and improved the ‘Cats record to 3-1 in extra-inning games. Three of those four extra-inning contests have come against the RedHawks, who won an 11 inning game on July 7 at The Steel Yard. The win was also the first at home for the ‘Cats against Fargo this year after a three-game sweep July 5-7.
Most of the scoring in the game came early, and things looked bleak for the ‘Cats when Fargo pounded out four hits and scored two runs in the top of the first inning against Brad Halsey. In the second, Kole Zimmerman cracked a leadoff single but Halsey got locked in after that, retiring 12 of the next 13 men he faced.
The RailCats took the lead in the second inning against RedHawks starter Jake Laber, beginning with a line drive leadoff home run from Cristian Guerrero, his team-leading 11th of the year. The next batter, Tanner Townsend, would walk before Louis Ott launched his second home run of the year just underneath the scoreboard in left-center. The RailCats added to their lead with an insurance run in the fifth, an inning that started with a Mike Rohde double. Rohde scored two batters later when Mike Valadez singled to make it 4-2.
Fargo tied the contest off Halsey in the sixth. Eric Campbell led off the inning with a towering home run to left and Jay Cox followed with a single. Halsey struck out the next two hitters with Cox at second base following a balk, but Zimmerman and Mike Coles put together back-to-back infield singles to tie the game.
Halsey went 5.2 innings, allowing 10 hits and four earned runs, although he did strike out a season-high six. Laber went 6.1 for Fargo-Moorhead, giving up four earned runs on six hits and three walks. Both bullpens were outstanding, with Jeff Williams leading the way for the RailCats. Williams relieved Halsey in the sixth and struck out Zach Penprase with two on to end the inning, then worked a scoreless seventh and eighth. Andy Shipman (2-0) got the last out of the ninth and retired the side in the 10th to pick up the win. Petrusek suffered a tough-luck loss, allowing just one hit in 3.0 innings.
Ott led the way for the ‘Cats with his second straight three-hit day, going 3-for-4. No other RailCat had two hits as the RedHawks out-hit the ‘Cats 11-9. Coles, Zimmerman, Campbell, Cox and Nic Jackson each had two hits for Fargo-Moorhead.
The RailCats (29-31) and RedHawks (35-22) continue their three-game series Tuesday at 6 p.m. at U. S. Steel Yard, with Northern League Pitcher of the Week Willie Glen (6-2, 2.72 ERA) slated to start for the ‘Cats opposite T.J. Stanton (3-3, 3.16 ERA).
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