Gary, IN - For the second time in three games, the RailCats and Redhawks engaged in a pitcher’s duel. However, this time it was the RailCats who came out on the winning side of it, defeating Fargo-Moorhead 3-1 on Friday night. The RailCats are now one game from the American Association Championship Series with a 2-1 lead headed into game four on Saturday night at U. S. Steel Yard.
Billy Spottiswood allowed a solo home run to Zach Penprase on the third pitch he threw in the game and kept Fargo off the board the rest of the way. Spottiswood allowed a single to Penprase in the third, and a leadoff single to Tim Alberts in the fifth for the only hits for Fargo. He retired 21 of the last 22 hitters he faced in the game to finish his first complete game as a professional.
Brian Ernst nearly matched Spottiswood pitch-for-pitch, however, Ernst’s mistake pitch was considerably more damaging. Staked to a 1-0 lead on the Penprase homer, Ernst allowed a three-run triple to Craig Maddox in the bottom of the first inning that gave Spottiswood all the offensive support he needed in game three.
The RailCats rally for offense in the first inning was aided by a throwing error by Redhawk third baseman Ronnie Bourquin on Cristian Guerrero’s groundball to the left side of the infield. Reid Fronk then drew a five-pitch walk before Maddox slammed the first pitch he saw into right-center field to clear the bases with a triple.
After the first inning, both pitchers settled down as Fargo never seriously threatened for offense again in the game. Adam Klein doubled with one out in the fifth inning, however, Ernst struck out Mike Massaro and got Cristian Guerrero to ground out to short end the frame.
Both starters were so good in fact that neither team had a base runner after Klein’s double; as each starter finished what they started.
Brian Ernst, a rookie, was a tough-luck loser in his playoff debut. Despite throwing a complete game and striking out seven, he took the loss with three runs allowed, two earned, on five hits and one walk.
Each leadoff hitter, Zach Penprase and Adam Klein, had two hits in the game. They were the only two to record a multi-hit game, one night after eight players had two more hits in game two.
The RailCats now have two chances to take the series with Fargo at U. S. Steel Yard beginning with game four on Saturday night. LHP Jake Laber (10-5, 3.82 ERA) will try to stave off elimination for the Redhawks and RHP Morgan Coombs (6-3, 4.93 ERA) will throw for the RailCats.
Listen live on AM 740 TheFan and fmredhawks.com beginning at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, first pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m.
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