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Eric Peterson, Published September 06 2012

Winnipeg rallies past the RedHawks for a 2-0 series lead

FARGO – The Winnipeg Goldeyes went through the top reliever in American Association baseball to earn the victory Thursday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

The Goldeyes cracked a pair of home runs off RedHawks closer Tom Boleska in the eighth inning. Those late long balls vaulted Winnipeg to a 5-3 victory in the first round of the league playoffs.

“There is not a lot you can do about it,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said of Boleska. “He’s a guy we go to in that situation. What are you going to do? You can’t belittle him and downgrade him. We have to pick up the pieces.”

Winnipeg took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series.

“We’ve played two of our best games that we’ve played all year,” Goldeyes manager Rick Forney said.

Boleska led the league with 29 saves during the regular season and was named the American Association relief pitcher of the year. The right-hander allowed just one home run in 46 innings during the regular season.

“I think first of all you need to have respect for a pitcher like him, but you don’t lose your will to compete,” said Winnipeg first baseman Josh Mazzola, who finished with two home runs. “If you lose your will to compete, he will come in and shove it on you.”

Mazzola gave the Goldeyes a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning, cranking a two-out, two-run home run off Boleska. His drive sailed over the wall in left field and gave Winnipeg its first lead of the game.

Boleska entered the game with one out in the eighth inning. He struck out the first batter he faced, but Goldeyes second baseman Yurendell de Caster followed with a solo home run to center field to tie the score at 3-3. Barbaro Canizares then cracked a single that set the stage for Mazzola.

“It’s good to have the momentum, but I think we can’t get content,” said Mazzola, who also hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning. “It’s big, but the thing is we still have to win one. We’ve got to play like that. We’ve got to play like every game is our last. Things can change.”

Mazzola’s first home run Thursday cut the F-M lead to 3-2.

The RedHawks opened the scoring in the sixth inning. Center fielder Nic Jackson led off the inning with a double and Eric Campbell followed with an infield single. Ryan Delgado then crushed a towering two-run home run over the wall in left field that gave F-M a 3-0 lead. That lead held until the eighth.

Game 3 of the series is scheduled for 7 tonight at Shaw Park in Winnipeg. The RedHawks need to win three consecutive games in Winnipeg to keep their season alive. F-M had a 9-2 record at Shaw Park during the regular season.

“We’re not out of it,” Simunic said. “There is still another game to be won by them and three by us. We’ve got to go up there and try to get into a comfortable situation and swing the bats and score some runs.”

NOTES: Right-hander Paul Burnside (9-6, 3.20 ERA) is set to start today’s Game 3 at Shaw Park in Winnipeg. The Goldeyes are expected to counter with right-hander Matt Rusch (10-4, 2.40 ERA). … The RedHawks have a 32-20 at home this season, counting their two playoff losses against Winnipeg. The Goldeyes are 6-3 at Newman this season.

WINNIPEG REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Kndll ss 5 0 1 0 Pnprse ss 4 0 0 0

Rbrsn cf 3 0 0 0 Ssnskie rf 4 0 1 0

Cster 2b 4 1 2 1 Jcksn cf 4 1 2 0

Cnzrs dh 4 2 3 0 Cmpbll 3b 4 1 1 0

Mzzla 1b 4 2 2 4 Dlgado c 4 1 1 3

Alen c 4 0 0 0 Rdrgez 1b 4 0 1 0

Coles rf 4 0 1 0 Stovall dh 4 0 1 0

Day lf 3 0 0 0 Egglstn lf 4 0 1 0

Ramn 3b 4 0 1 0 Cota 2b 2 0 0 0

Gaston ph 1 0 0 0

Totals 35 5 10 5 Totals 35 3 8 3

Winnipeg 000 000 230 – 5 10 1

RedHawks 000 003 000 – 3 8 1

E–Ramon (1), Caldera (1). 2B–Canizares (1), Jackson (1). HR–de Caster (1), Mazzola 2 (2), Delgado (1). RBI–de Caster (1), Mazzola 4 (4), Delgado 3 (3). SB–Roberson (1). CS–Kendall (1), Roberson (1). LOB–W, 5. FM, 6.

WINNIPEG

IP H R ER BB SO

Salamida 6 7 3 3 0 6

Allen Xc 0 0 0 0 1

Baldwin, W Xc 0 0 0 0 1

Beuning, S 1Xc 1 0 0 0 2

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Caldera 6 6 2 2 0 4

Dahman Xc 0 0 0 0 0

Harris 0 0 0 0 0 0

Fuqua Xc 0 0 0 0 1

Boleska, L Xc 3 3 3 0 1

Massingham 1 1 0 0 0 1

Umpires–Home: McCaffrey. First: Linton. Third: Thigpen. Time–3:04. A–1,944.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com