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Eric Peterson, Published July 23 2013

Brachold slam leads RedHawks past St. Paul

FARGO – One inning of offense proved to be enough for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Tuesday night.

Keith Brachold cracked a grand slam that capped a seven-run inning and vaulted the RedHawks to a 7-5 American Association victory against the St. Paul Saints at Newman Outdoor Field before 4,288 fans.

“Thankfully, that was all we needed,” said Brachold, whose grand slam was his lone hit.

The RedHawks (39-24) have won four consecutive games and stretched their lead in the North Division to 6½ games over second-place St. Paul. F-M has won seven of its past eight games.

“When people are trying to track you down, when you spread it out a little, it always helps,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said. “We’re just playing. Someone has to come and catch us and have a big August.”

The RedHawks were playing catch-up against the Saints on Tuesday. St. Paul built a five-run lead in the third inning. St. Paul scored two runs in the top of the third to take a 5-0 lead after knocking RedHawks starter Paul Burnside out of the game in the second inning.

“It was good to see our team battle,” Brachold said. “We haven’t played from behind a whole bunch.”

The RedHawks made their move in the bottom of the third inning, scoring all their runs in that frame. The first seven F-M batters that came to the plate in the third reached base and scored.

Ronnie Bourquin helped fuel the F-M rally, drawing a bases-loaded walk that scored Mitch Einertson, who led off the inning with a single. Nic Jackson and C.J. Retherford followed with back-to-back RBI singles that cut the St. Paul lead to 5-3.

“I didn’t think they felt they were down too big, 5-0,” Simunic said. “I thought the felt pretty confident that they could get something.”

Brachold then came to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. The left-handed swinging Brachold smacked an Anthony Claggett offering over the fence in right field. That gave F-M a 7-5 lead, one it would not relinquish.

“I got a little cutter on the hands a little bit, but I was able to get the barrel down to it and sneak it out of here,” Brachold said.

The RedHawks bullpen made that one-inning outburst hold up. Right-hander Mackenzie King entered the game in the second inning and allowed two runs in 4Xc innings. King threw 83 pitches, including 55 strikes, and helped diffuse the Saints’ early momentum.

“What can you say about Mackenzie King? He slowed the game down,” Simunic said. “He held the score for quite a long time. Our bullpen did a good job today.”

RedHawks relievers Nathan Kilcrease and Joe Harris combined to retire the final nine St. Paul batters in order. The left-handed Harris retired all five batters he faced to earn his first save this season.

“The bullpen was huge today,” Brachold said. “Great jobs by those guys to come in and do what they do.”

NOTES: Right-hander Brian Ernst (3-1, 2.95 ERA) is scheduled to start today for the RedHawks. St. Paul is expected to counter with right-hander Mike Koons (1-0, 4.50 ERA). … The RedHawks have 999 franchise victories during the regular season after Tuesday’s win. … F-M has a 17-11 home record this season.

ST. PAUL REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Frost ss 5 1 3 2 Pnprs ss 3 1 1 0

Becker 3b 5 0 1 0 Brquin 3b 3 1 1 1

Boyer 2b 4 1 1 0 Jcksn cf 4 1 2 1

Cbra dh 4 1 0 0 Rthrfrd 2b 3 1 1 1

Tripp rf 4 0 0 1 Brchld 1b 4 1 1 4

Shldn 1b 5 1 2 2 Albrts dh 4 0 1 0

Hrndz cf 5 0 2 0 Ssnskie rf 4 0 0 0

Childs c 4 1 0 0 Enrtsn lf 4 1 2 0

Kczrwski lf 2 0 1 0 Jnnngs c 3 1 0 0

Totals 38 5 10 5 Totals 32 7 9 7

SP 302 000 000–5 10 0

FM 007 000 00x–7 9 1

2B–Boyer (22), Einertson (13). HR–Brachold (11). SB–Frost (25), Retherford (5). HP–Cabrera (3), Kaczrowski (2), Jennings (4). LOB–St. Paul 11, RedHawks 5. E–Bourquin (11).

ST. PAUL

IP H R ER BB SO

Claggett, L 4 7 7 7 2 1

Klabunde 2 1 0 0 1 1

Plefka 1 1 0 0 0 1

Henry 1 0 0 0 0 0

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Burnside 1Zc 4 3 3 2 1

King, W 4Xc 6 2 2 1 3

Kilcrease 1Zc 0 0 0 0 2

Harris 1Xc 0 0 0 0 0

Umpires–Home: Linton. First: Fredrickson. Third: Stegner. Time–2:56. A–4,288.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com