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Eric Peterson, Published August 02 2013

Piepkorn slam lifts RedHawks to walk-off victory against Winnipeg

FARGO – Hello, Newman.

Jeremiah Piepkorn made a splashy return to Newman Outdoor Field on Friday night.

The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks right fielder cracked a walk-off grand slam to lift his team to a dramatic 6-3 victory against the Winnipeg Goldeyes in American Association baseball before a sellout crowd of 5,002 fans.

“He’s got a flair for the dynamic,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said. “He’s a real pro and I brought him in for that; just give me one of those, and he was able to do it.”

Piepkorn, a former North Dakota State standout, last played for the RedHawks in 2010, and he hadn’t played professionally since that season. Friday’s game was Piepkorn’s first at Newman since he signed with F-M earlier this week.

“It was exciting after not playing for three years,” Piepkorn said of the grand slam. “My whole goal was to come here and help out the team if I could. It felt good. It was fun.”

The RedHawks (47-25) have won all seven games against the Goldeyes this season. Winnipeg could have pulled within 4½ games of F-M’s North Division lead with a victory.

Instead, the Goldeyes dropped 6½ games back.

“For us it’s big to steal that game at the end,” Simunic said.

Piepkorn, 32, said he had played in “13 or 14” amateur baseball games this summer, and a “little bit” of slowpitch softball.

“My whole goal was to come back and have fun and enjoy it,” said Piepkorn, who lives in Baxter, Minn. “I probably won’t do it again. It’s exciting to do it back here.”

Piepkorn said he will likely remain with the RedHawks through the end of the weekend and then return home. Friday was his fourth game back with F-M.

Piepkorn went 2-for-4 against the Goldeyes and is 3-for-15 since his return.

“This was just a little shot in the arm we were looking for, and he gave it to us,” Simunic said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s one of the better athletes I have ever had. He’s never out of shape. He’s just a solid baseball player.”

Goldeyes starter Matt Rusch quieted the RedHawks for most of the evening. The right-hander allowed two runs on four hits in 7Xc innings. Both those runs and three of those hits came in the fourth inning.

Winnipeg held a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. RedHawks center fielder Nic Jackson reached on an error to lead off the ninth. C.J. Retherford followed with a single to left field. The RedHawks later took advantage of another Winnipeg error that loaded the bases with one out.

That is when Piepkorn came to the plate. He jumped on a first-pitch fastball that sailed over the wall in left field. Piepkorn was mobbed by his teammates as he crossed home plate.

“I was just looking for a pitch up in the zone, just trying to get something in the outfield,” Piepkorn said.

The RedHawks have hit six grand slams this season. All F-M runs in the ninth inning were unearned.

NOTES: Right-hander Paul Burnside (5-5, 5.64 ERA) is slated to start today for the RedHawks. Winnipeg is expected to counter with left-hander Pete Gehle (4-4, 4.12 ERA). … Counting Friday’s crowd of 5,002 fans, the RedHawks have seven sellouts this season. … The RedHawks have a 21-13 home record this season.

WINNIPEG REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Grahm cf 3 0 1 2 Pnprse ss 4 1 1 0

Ramon 3b 2 0 0 0 Brquin 3b 2 1 0 0

Sadler rf 4 1 1 0 Jckson cf 4 1 1 0

Scoma 1b 3 0 1 1 Rthrfrd 2b 4 1 2 1

Haerthr dh 4 0 0 0 Brchold 1b 4 0 0 1

Mzzola ss 3 1 0 0 Alberts dh 4 1 0 0

Lentini lf 4 0 0 0 Piepkorn rf 4 1 2 4

Alen c 2 0 0 0 Ssnoskie lf 3 0 0 0

Moesqt 2b 4 1 0 0 Jennings c 2 0 0 0

Totals 29 3 3 3 Totals 31 6 6 6

W 120 000 000 –3 3 2

FM 000 200 004 –6 6 0

E–Mazzola (8), Moesquit (5). LOB–Winnipeg 6, RedHawks 3. DP–Winnipeg 2, RedHawks 1. 2B–Sadler (15), Scoma (14). HR–Piepkorn (1). SB–Graham 3 (19), Ramon (6), Mazzola (4), Alen (8), Moesquit (2), Penprase (29).

WINNIPEG

IP H R ER BB SO

Rusch 7Xc 4 2 2 3 3

Lafferty L,2-2 Xc 1 2 0 0 0

Kissock 0 1 2 0 0 0

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Gutierrez 6 3 3 3 4 2

King Xc 0 0 0 3 1

Klcrse W,4-2 2Zc 0 0 0 0 2

Umpires–Home: Krauss. First: Sheets. Third: Pascucci. Time–2:37. A–5,002.


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

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