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Eric Peterson, Published August 04 2013

Opsahl, RedHawks cruise past Winnipeg

FARGO – Ethan Opsahl displayed his value Sunday afternoon at Newman Outdoor Field.

Making his first start in nearly two months, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks left-hander pitched six solid innings. His performance helped lift the RedHawks to a 10-2 victory against the Winnipeg Goldeyes in American Association baseball before 3,660 fans.

“He’s going to be in the (starting) rotation some and out in the bullpen,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said. “We’ve got to watch, though, how much we throw him. He’s a really good helper right now.”

Opsahl, who didn’t pitch in July due to tightness in his upper back, has pitched in two games in August. Prior to Sunday, he hadn’t started a game since June 9.

“It was nice to take a little bit off and take that time to get healed up,” said Opsahl, who has made four starts and appeared in 16 games this season.

The RedHawks (46-28) completed a three-game series sweep of Winnipeg with Sunday’s victory. F-M has a 9-0 record against the Goldeyes this season.

“It was big,” Simunic said. “We needed to win these games.”

Opsahl limited the Goldeyes to three hits and allowed two runs, both of which were unearned. Opsahl earned his first victory this season and lowered his ERA to 3.07.

“He was competitive,” Simunic said. “We’ll give him a couple more starts.”

While the RedHawks welcomed Opsahl back to the mound in a starting role, they may be saying goodbye to outfielder Jeremiah Piepkorn, who has played in six games after signing earlier this week.

Piepkorn, who hadn’t played professionally since 2010, is batting .320 (8-for-25) with two home runs and seven RBIs since his return to the RedHawks. Piepkorn said Sunday was likely his final game.

“We’ll see what happens, but it might be it,” said Piepkorn, who lives in Baxter, Minn., and is married with two sons. “It’s tough, but my family is important, too. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to come back and contribute.”

Piepkorn’s 5-year-old son, Bodie, was at Sunday’s game. Piepkorn said his oldest child provided some motivation before he cracked a solo home run in the fifth inning that gave the RedHawks a 6-2 lead.

“Right when I was getting in the (batter’s) box, I heard Bodie yell ‘Hit a home run, daddy.’ It was emotional,” Piepkorn said.

Piepkorn played an important role in the series sweep against the Goldeyes. The former North Dakota State standout batted .500 (7-for-14) in the three games with two home runs and seven RBIs. Piepkorn sparked his big weekend with a walk-off grand slam in Friday’s 6-3 victory in Game 1 of the series.

“Maybe the first night of the series, Friday night, broke their back, when Piepkorn hit the home run,” Simunic said.

Simunic is supportive with whatever decision Piepkorn makes about his playing future.

“I’m open for whatever he wants to do. If he says ‘yes,’ I’m good. If he says ‘no,’ I’m good with that,” Simunic said.

The RedHawks have an off day before starting a three-game series against the St. Paul Saints on Tuesday at Newman Outdoor Field. F-M has an 8½-game lead over both Winnipeg and St. Paul in the North Division. The Goldeyes and Saints are tied for second place with identical 37-36 records.

NOTES: Left-hander Jake Laber (5-5, 3.41 ERA) is slated to pitch against St. Paul on Tuesday. The Saints are expected to counter with right-hander Billy Soule (2-0, 6.88 ERA). … The RedHawks have a 23-13 record at Newman Outdoor Field this season. … The RedHawks have a 144-117 edge in the all-time series against Winnipeg.


ab r h bi ab r h bi

Grahm cf 4 0 0 0 Pnprse ss 5 1 2 1

Ramon 3b 4 0 1 0 Burquin 3b 5 2 3 4

Sadler rf 4 0 0 0 Ssnskie rf 0 0 0 0

Scoma dh 4 0 0 0 Jackson cf 3 0 0 0

Harther 1b 4 1 1 0 Rthrford 2b 4 1 2 3

Mzzola ss 1 1 0 0 Brchold 1b 4 0 2 1

Lentini lf 2 0 1 1 Alberts dh 5 1 4 0

Mesqut 2b 3 0 1 1 Pepkrn 3brf 5 1 2 1

Einertson lf 4 2 0 0

Jennings c 3 2 0 0

Totals 29 2 4 2 Totals 38 10 15 10

WINNIPEG 020 000 000 –2 4 2

REDHAWKS 221 011 30x –10 15 2

E–Mazzola (9), Alen (9), Retherford (10), Piepkorn (1). LOB-Winnipeg 3, RedHawks 12. DP-Winnipeg 0, RedHawks 1. 2b-Bourquin (17), Brachold (15), Alberts (21). HR-Bourquin (10), Piepkorn (2). SB-Penprase (31), Retherford (8), Piepkorn (1). CS-Graham (6), Moesquit (1).



Osuna, L 5 9 6 6 5 4

Aguilar 1 3 1 1 0 0

Downing 1 3 3 0 1 1

Garcia 1 0 0 0 0 0



Opsahl, W 6 3 2 0 2 1

King, S 3 1 0 0 0 2

Umpires–Home: Pascucci. First: Krauss. Third: Sheets. Time–3:40. A–3,660.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com