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Eric Peterson, Published June 07 2013

Laber leads RedHawks to victory against rival Winnipeg

FARGO – Jake Laber wasn’t going to come out of the game voluntarily Friday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

That’s why when Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks manager Doug Simunic asked Laber with one out in the ninth inning if he had enough to finish the game, Laber didn’t hesitate.

“I’m never going to say I don’t,” Laber said with a smile.

Laber would get one more out before he was pulled, falling one out short of a complete game. His performance lifted the RedHawks to a 3-1 victory against the Winnipeg Goldeyes in American Association baseball before 3,802 fans.

“It was just awesome to catch,” RedHawks catcher Todd Jennings said. “Anything I called, he threw it. … He pounded the strike zone.”

The RedHawks (11-11) snapped a two-game losing streak with the victory and have a 4-0 record against North Division rival Winnipeg this season.

“They’re always going to be important when they’re in your division,” Simunic said.

Laber (3-1) was sharp from the outset, retiring the first six batters he faced. Winnipeg third baseman Amos Ramon led off the third inning with a home run for the Goldeyes’ lone run.

Laber scattered six hits and retired Winnipeg in order in the first, second, fifth and eighth innings. The left-hander threw 119 pitches, including 80 strikes. Laber faced 33 batters and threw 26 first-pitch strikes.

“I was coming out and attacking with the fastball early on,” Laber said. “I was able to get some quick innings, and next thing you knew it was in the fifth (inning) already.”

The RedHawks scored single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings. Center fielder Nic Jackson’s RBI double in the fifth inning gave F-M a 2-0 lead and proved to be the winning run.

“I’m really not happy with how we’re hitting the ball, not scoring enough runs,” Simunic said. “I think we’re going to come around.”

Laber has won his last three starts, pitching a combined 21 innings in those outings. He’s only given up one earned run and 11 hits during that stretch, lowering his ERA to 1.76. His last two starts have been on three days’ rest.

“I don’t want to make a habit on short rest, but it’s working right now,” Laber said.

Laber retired the first batter he faced in the ninth inning before walking Winnipeg cleanup hitter Casey Haerther. That’s when Simunic made his first mound visit. Laber said he could finish the game.

“I didn’t have to do too much convincing. I was surprised,” Laber said.

Two batters and one out later, Simunic returned to the mound to take Laber from the game. Laber left the field to a standing ovation.

“He went back and got 91, 92 (miles per hour) there in the ninth inning,” Simunic said of Laber. “That was interesting.”

RedHawks closer Chase Johnson then got Ramon to fly out to center field for the game’s final out.

NOTES: Right-hander Paul Burnside (0-3, 9.00 ERA) is scheduled to start today for the RedHawks. Winnipeg is expected to counter with right-hander Justin Garcia (3-0, 3.37 ERA). … Shortstop Zach Penprase walked in the fifth inning for the 254th time in his F-M career. That tied him for first on the franchise’s all-time list with Joe Mathis and Johnny Knott.

WINNIPEG REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Lentini cf 4 0 0 0 Pnprse ss 2 2 1 0

Scoma dh 4 0 1 0 Graham lf 3 0 0 0

Mazzla rf 3 0 1 0 Jckson cf 4 0 1 1

Hrther 1b 3 0 1 0 Alberts dh 4 0 1 1

Alen c 4 0 1 0 Brchld 1b 4 0 0 0

Guida pr 0 0 0 0 Rthfrd 2b 4 1 1 0

Smith lf 4 0 1 0 Brquin 3b 3 0 2 0

Ramon 3b 3 1 1 1 Jnnings c 3 0 1 0

Smson ss 3 0 0 0 Ssnskie rf 3 0 0 0

Liles 2b 3 0 0 0

Totals 31 1 6 1 Totals 30 3 7 2

W 001 000 000 –1 6 1

FM 001 011 00x –3 7 0

E–Ramon (8). LOB–Winnipeg 6, RedHawks 6. DP–Winnipeg 2, RedHawks 0. 2B–Scoma (4), Jackson (4). HR–Ramon (2).

WINNIPEG

IP H R ER BB SO

Hardy L,3-1 6 7 3 2 3 4

Kissock 1Zc 0 0 0 0 2

Lafferty Xc 0 0 0 0 0

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Laber W,3-1 8Xc 6 1 1 3 4

Johnson S,6 Zc 0 0 0 0 0

Umpires–Home: Ballou. First: Grassa. Third: Krauss. Time–2:13. A–3,802.


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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com