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Eric Peterson, Published May 27 2012

Offensive struggles continue for RedHawks in loss to Sioux Falls

FARGO – Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks manager Doug Simunic vented his frustration with the team’s offense in Sunday’s postgame.

The RedHawks were held to five hits in a 5-2 loss to the Sioux Falls Pheasants in American Association baseball at Newman Outdoor Field before 2,688 fans.

“We’ve got to figure out a few things on becoming a more complete team,” Simunic said. “You can’t continue two runs on five hits for weeks. You’ll be out of it. You’ll be far behind. … We’ve got some offensive issues, there’s no question.”

After starting the season 4-1, the RedHawks (5-5) have lost four of their past five games. In its first three home games, F-M generated eight runs in losing two of three to the Pheasants.

Center fielder Nic Jackson has been one of the offensive bright spots for the RedHawks. Jackson went 2-for-3 with two RBIs Sunday to push his season batting average to .462.

“You don’t want to be 5-5,” Jackson said. “We know we are a better team than that. We just have to execute little plays. Little plays will get you out of funks like this. It will be OK.”

Jackson hits third in the lineup with left fielder Aharon Eggleston and shortstop Zach Penprase hitting in the first and second spots. Simunic has been satisfied with his top 3 hitters, but expects better production from the rest of his batting order. The RedHawks four through nine hitters were a combined 1-for-19 on Sunday.

“From four on down, I don’t know what they’re doing,” Simunic said. “I’m not going to wait for them. I’m going to look for the next available. The shot’s been fired over the bow. Let’s go folks.”

The Pheasants built a 4-0 lead, scoring one run in the first inning, one in the third and two runs in the fifth. Sioux Falls right fielder Cristian Guerrero capped the fifth-inning rally with an RBI single to right field.

The RedHawks scored their lone runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jackson smacked a two-run double to the right-center field gap that scored Ryan Delgado and Eggleston. That cut the Sioux Falls lead to 4-2. The Pheasants added a run in the eighth inning for the final margin.

Despite the recent offensive struggles for the RedHawks, Jackson isn’t ready to panic.

“In baseball, you can’t really worry about stuff like that,” Jackson said. “Once you start pressing and once you start worrying about stuff then it pretty much eats you alive.”

The RedHawks lost some of the juice in their lineup when outfielder Jon Gaston was picked up by the Chicago White Sox organization after six games. While Simunic said he’s been working on adding a power bat to his lineup, finding one won’t be easy.

“You can’t find it,” Simunic said. “It’s hard. We’ve been grinding on it. Guys in the real world aren’t available right now.”

NOTES: The RedHawks start a three-game series with Wichita at 6 tonight at Newman Outdoor Field. Right-hander Aaron Shafer (0-1, 6.10 ERA) is expected to start for the RedHawks. Wichita is expected to counter with left-hander Ryan Hinson (2-0, 0.73 ERA). … The RedHawks have two players in their batting order hitting above .300. Jackson (.462) and Eggleston (.364). … Right-handed pitcher Paul Burnside made his first start for the RedHawks on Sunday. His first two appearances this season were out of the bullpen. … Sioux Falls right-handed starter Mark Michael had a 7.00 ERA heading into Sunday’s start. Michael lowered his ERA to 5.40 against the RedHawks, allowing two runs in six innings to earn the victory.

SIOUX FALLS REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Kaplan cf 3 2 1 1 Egglstn lf 4 1 2 0

Morales ss 5 1 3 0 Pnprse ss 3 0 0 0

Bolden lf 4 1 3 2 Jackson cf 3 0 2 2

Nicolas 1b 3 0 0 1 Cruz 3b 3 0 0 0

Grrero rf 5 0 1 1 Rdrgz rf 4 0 0 0

Lwhorn dh 3 0 0 0 Dlgado 1b 4 0 0 0

Taylor 3b 4 1 2 0 Cota 2b 2 0 0 0

Quntna c 3 0 0 0 Jnnngs c 4 0 0 0

Anthnsn 2b 3 0 0 0 Delgado dh 2 1 1 0

Totals 33 5 10 5 Totals 29 2 5 2

SF 101 020 010–5 10 0

F-M 000 020 000–2 5 0

2B–Morales (3), Bolden (1), Taylor (2), Jackson (6). HP–Nicolas 2 (2), Lawhordn (1). SH–Quintana. SB–Kaplan (2), Cota (1). CS–Anthonsen (1), Eggleston (1). LOB–Sioux Falls 9, Fargo 6. DP–Wichita 2, Fargo-Moorhead 1.

SIOUX FALLS

IP H R ER BB SO

Michael, W, 1-1 6 4 2 2 6 4

Van Luer 1 1 0 0 0 0

Mertins 1 0 0 0 0 1

Evans, S, 2 1 0 0 0 0 1

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Burnside, L, 1-1 4Zc 5 4 4 4 3

Herron 3 4 1 1 0 2

Morari Zc 0 0 0 0 0

Fuqua Zc 1 0 0 0 1

Harris 1 0 0 0 0 1

Umpires–Home: Stodola. First: O’Leary. Third: Pascucci. Time–2:51. A–2,688.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com