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Published August 20 2010

Northern League: Goldeyes bomb RedHawks in last set at Newman

The beginning of a pivotal final homestand of the regular season didn’t go as planned for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Thursday night.

The Winnipeg Goldeyes scored six runs in the first inning en route to a 12-7 Northern League victory against the RedHawks before 4,628 fans at Newman Outdoor Field.

“You put yourself in a big hole early in the game,” Fargo-Moorhead manager Doug Simunic said. “A lot of things happened. … Six runs is pretty hard (to come back from). We’ve done that a few times here. It’s getting a little old.”

Fargo-Moorhead is looking to create a cushion for itself in the standings before finishing out the year with an 11-game road swing through Winnipeg, Joliet and Kansas City.

Thursday’s game marked the beginning of a seven-game stretch at home against the Goldeyes and Lake County. After taking the first of a four-game series, the Winnipeg is seven games behind the first-place RedHawks.

Lake County is 36-48 following a win Thursday night against Schaumburg.

The RedHawks and second-place T-Bones end the regular season with a four-game series in Kansas City on September 3-6. Kansas City remains a game back of first-place Fargo-Moorhead after a 4-2 loss to Joliet.

The RedHawks have been solid at home this season, going 26-18 at Newman Outdoor Field with a .282 batting average and a 3.93 earned run average.

But Thursday’s early performance was an exception.

Pitcher Billy Weitzman had a rough start in his return to the RedHawks from a stint with Lincoln of the American Association.

Weitzman, who was traded to Lincoln this spring and signed by F-M this week after his release from the Saltdogs, allowed six runs on four hits in the first inning to put the RedHawks in an early hole.

Former F-M outfielder Justin Justice and Dee Brown each drilled long home runs off Weitzman, who recorded only two outs before giving way to reliever Matt Petrusek.

The RedHawks chipped away until they cut the lead to 6-5 by the end of the second inning.

But the Goldeyes never allowed F-M to complete the comeback.

Justice, who added a solo homer to lead off the seventh, finished 2 for 5 with four RBIs.

“We picked ourselves up off the deck and got it to within one run,” Simunic said. “We strapped our pitching so hard with doubleheaders that we’re trying to catch up.”

F-M’s ability to stay potent on the road could come in handy down the stretch.

The RedHawks have hit 20 more home runs in eight fewer games away from Newman Outdoor Field this season. F-M has 35 bombs at home and 55 en route to a 21-15 road record.

First, the RedHawks need to take care of business on its home field.

Fargo-Moorhead hosts Winnipeg at 7 p.m. today in Game 2 of the series.

“They are all important,” Simunic said. “They are fighting for their lives, we’re trying to stay where we’re at. We have another 19-20 games to go. It’s not an easy equation. A lot of people are running on fumes and some are dinged up and hurt. So we’re trying to do the best we can under the circumstances.

“Tonight the circumstances weren’t so good.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com