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Eric Peterson, Published August 13 2012

Gaston helps RedHawks edge Winnipeg

FARGO – The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks baseball team continued to separate themselves from the rest of the American Association.

Jon Gaston had the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning to help vault the RedHawks to a 5-3 victory against the Winnipeg Goldeyes on Monday night before a crowd of 3,448 fans at Newman Outdoor Field.

The RedHawks (53-28) have the best record in the league and have won eight consecutive games against Winnipeg, which has the second best record in the league. F-M has a 5½-game lead over the Goldeyes (47-33) for first place in the North Division.

“These are building games, these type games,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said. “These are like playoff games right here.”

The RedHawks lost their first four games against Winnipeg this season before winning the past eight to build an 8-4 edge in the season series.

That streak appeared in jeopardy early in the game Monday night with Winnipeg building a three-run lead. The Goldeyes took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning after designated hitter Kyle Day smacked an RBI double into center field.

The RedHawks, however, countered with two runs in the home half of the fourth.

Third baseman Eric Campbell capped that rally with an RBI single, which cut the Winnipeg lead to 3-2. F-M tied the score at 3-3 in the sixth inning after center fielder Nic Jackson belted a solo home run over the wall in right field.

That set the stage for Gaston, who came to bat in the eighth inning with runners on first and second base and one out. Gaston grounded a Brian Beuning pitch past a diving Yurendell de Caster at second base. The ball ended up in center field and scored Jackson from second base to give the RedHawks a 4-3 lead.

“It turned out it was good enough to get through,” said Gaston, who finished 2-for-4. “I’m just happy it went through.”

Designated hitter Ryan Delgado capped the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly that gave the RedHawks a 5-3 lead.

F-M got three scoreless innings from its bullpen. Right-hander Kevin Fuqua allowed one hit over two innings. Closer Tom Boleska pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his league-leading 25th save.

“I thought Fuqua did a wonderful job and I thought that Boleska does what he does,” Simunic said.

The RedHawks played strong defense in the latter innings with double plays in each of the last three innings. F-M second baseman Carlo Cota was involved in all three twin killings. In the ninth inning, Cota made a diving snare on a Mike Coles line drive. Cota then threw to first base to double off Luis Alen, who reached after he was hit by a pitch. Those were the first two outs in the ninth.

“You can’t beat Cota,” Simunic said. “Cota is just a guy who is right there. He is doing everything in the field that we’ve asked him to do. He’s just a real weapon to have.”

Simunic also liked what he saw from right-hander starter Aaron Shafer, who pitched six-plus innings and earned a no decision. Shafer scattered eight hits and allowed three runs.

“I like the way Shafer competed,” Simunic said. “He kept it to minimal damage. He kept himself in the game. He stayed poised and his confidence is growing and growing.”

NOTES: Right-hander Tyler Herron (8-3, 4.02 ERA) is slated to start today for the RedHawks. Winnipeg is expected to counter with left-hander Todd Privett (4-2, 2.59 ERA). … The RedHawks have a 25-15 record at Newman this season. They are 28-13 on the road.

WINNIPEG REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Kndll,ss 3 0 0 0 Pnprse,ss 4 1 2 0

Rbrsn,cf 4 0 1 0 Stovall,lf 4 1 1 0

dCastr,2b 4 1 1 1 Jackson,cf 4 2 2 2

Mazla,1b 4 0 2 1 Campbl,3b 3 1 1 1

Weber,lf 4 0 0 0 Gaston,rf 4 0 2 1

Alen,c 2 0 0 0 Delgado,dh 3 0 0 1

Coles,rf 4 1 2 0 Rdriguz,1b 2 0 0 0

Day,dh 4 0 1 1 Jennings,c 3 0 0 0

Ramon,3b 3 1 2 0 Cotz, 2b 3 0 0 0

Totals 32 3 9 3 Totals 30 5 8 5

Winnipeg 002 100 000–3 9 1

RedHawks 000 201 02x–5 8 0

E–Kendall (12). 2B-Mazzola (22), Coles (16), Day (14), Penprase (11). HR-Jackson (16). HP-Alen (4). SB-Jackson (17). LOB-Winnipeg 5, RedHawks 6.

WINNIPEG

IP H R ER BB SO

Rusch 6Zc 7 3 3 1 3

Buening,L,5-2 1Zc 1 2 0 1 1

Baldwin 0 0 0 0 1 0

Allen Zc 0 0 0 0 0

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Shafer 6 8 3 3 1 2

Fuqua,W,2-1 2 1 0 0 0 0

Boleska,S,25 1 0 0 0 1 0

Umpires–Home: Stureman. First: Riggers. Third: Bakke. Time–2:54. A–3,448.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com