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Eric Peterson, Published July 24 2013

St. Paul spoils RedHawks bid for 1,000 franchise wins

FARGO – The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks stayed locked in on 999.

The St. Paul Saints scored five runs in the seventh inning and added a solo home run in the eighth inning. That late offense lifted the Saints to a 7-6 American Association victory Wednesday night at Newman Outdoor Field before 4,005 fans.

The RedHawks, who are in their 18th season, missed a chance to earn the 1,000th win in franchise history.

“Our bullpen just let us down a little bit, but they will bounce back,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said. “I’m confident they will.”

The RedHawks (39-25) had their four-game winning streak snapped. The Saints (33-30) pulled within 5½ games of F-M, which is in first place in the North Division. St. Paul is in second place in the division.

“They’ve got a good club over there,” Simunic said of the Saints. “They are trying to stay in the hunt and they did a good job of it tonight.”

The RedHawks appeared headed to victory No. 1,000 through six innings. Ronnie Bourquin and C.J. Retherford each cracked two-run home runs in the third inning. Those blasts helped F-M build a 5-1 lead heading into the seventh inning.

“We’re swinging the bats fine,” Simunic said. “We score 5, 6 runs in the ballgame, we should be able to do something with that; unfortunately, not tonight.”

The Saints took the lead for good in the seventh inning. The first six St. Paul batters reached base in that frame and the first five of them scored. RedHawks starter Brian Ernst walked a batter, hit a batter and walked a batter to start the seventh, loading the bases.

“The kid, Ernst, just ran out of arm slot, ran out of command,” Simunic said.

The Saints took advantage with consecutive two-run doubles from Dwight Childs and Trevor Hairgrove off F-M reliever Danny Gutierrez, who replaced Ernst. Hairgrove’s two-run hit tied the score at 5-5. St. Paul took a 6-5 lead after Brad Boyer dumped a two-out RBI single into right field. Boyer’s hit scored Hairgrove from third base and capped the five-run rally.

The Saints took a 7-5 lead in the eighth inning after Ole Sheldon blasted a solo home run off RedHawks left-handed reliever Joe Harris. That proved to be the winning run.

“They did a good job battling,” RedHawks first baseman Keith Brachold said. “They put together some hits and we couldn’t get out of the (seventh) inning. A lot of times it’s the one big inning that makes you or breaks you.”

The RedHawks loaded the bases in the eighth inning, but were unable to score. They loaded the bases again in the ninth inning and scratched across one run. F-M had runners on first and second base when St. Paul reliever Jon Plefka got RedHawks right fielder Buddy Sosnoskie to ground out to end the game.

“We clawed back, but we couldn’t get there,” Brachold said. “It was good that we put pressure on them. We lacked the big hit tonight.”

NOTES: Right-hander Taylor Stanton (5-3, 2.47 ERA) is slated to start today for the RedHawks. St. Paul is expected to counter with right-hander Mark Hamburger (4-3, 4.10 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. … The RedHawks have a 17-12 home record this season.

ST. PAUL REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Frost 2b 4 0 1 0 Pnprs ss 5 0 0 0

Becker 3b 5 0 0 0 Brquin 3b 5 2 2 2

Boyer dh 4 1 1 1 Jacksn cf 5 1 4 0

Cbra lf 3 0 1 0 Rthrfrd 2b 5 1 1 2

Tripp rf 3 1 1 1 Brchld 2b 5 1 1 2

Sheldn 1b 3 2 2 1 Albrts dh 4 1 2 2

Hrndz cf 3 1 0 0 Ssnskie rf 4 0 1 0

Chlds c 4 1 1 2 Enrtson lf 4 0 2 0

Hrgove ss 3 1 1 2 Jnnngs c 3 1 1 0

Totals 32 7 8 7 Totals 39 6 13 6 2

SP 100 000 000–7 8 0

FM 014 000 001–6 13 0

2B–Sheldon (8), Childs (15), Hairgrove (1), Jackson 2 (17). HR–Sheldon (5), Bourquin (8), Retherford (5), Alberts (12). SB–Retherford (6). HP–Sheldon (1), Jennings (5). SF–Alberts (5). LOB–St. Paul 5, RedHawks 10. DP–RedHawks 1.

ST. PAUL

IP H R ER BB SO

Koons, W 6 10 5 5 0 4

Mehlich 2Zc 3 1 1 2 0

Plefka Xc 0 0 0 0 0

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Ernst 6 3 4 4 4 5

Gutierrez, L 0 3 2 2 0 0

Harris 1Zc 2 1 1 0 1

Johnson 1Xc 0 0 0 1 1

Umpires–Home: Fredrickson. First: Stegner. Third: Linton. Time–2:45. A–4,005.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com