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Eric Peterson, Published August 13 2013

Pitching helps RedHawks top Rockland

FARGO – The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks achieved perfect home-road symmetry Tuesday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

Right-handed starter Taylor Stanton pitched six solid innings to help lift the RedHawks to a 4-1 victory over the Rockland Boulders of Pomona, N.Y., in independent baseball before 4,068 fans.

The RedHawks (52-30) improved to 26-15 at Newman this season, and have that identical record on the road.

“We’ve got a good team and it comes down to having a good team,” said RedHawks shortstop Zach Penprase, who scored three runs Tuesday.

F-M has won nine of its last 11 games to maintain its 7½ game lead on the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the American Association North Division. The RedHawks’ magic number to clinch the division is 11 since they would hold the tie-breaker against Winnipeg.

Pitching is one of the reasons the RedHawks have had equal home and road success. F-M ranks second in the American Association with a 3.60 team ERA. The RedHawks are also among the league leaders in team fielding to go along with a solid lineup.

“We’ve got a lineup that is pretty consistent,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said. “It’s just one of those teams.”

Pitching led the way Tuesday. Stanton and relievers Joe Harris and Nathan Kilcrease limited Rockland to seven hits, including five singles. Harris, a lefty, gave up one hit in two scoreless innings. Kilcrease, a righty, pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his third save this season.

“Tonight was a game that we grinded out and our pitching was pretty solid,” Simunic said. “Stanton was not his best, but still good enough.”

Stanton threw 107 pitches, including 65 strikes, in his six innings. He struck out seven batters and walked two. Stanton pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and allowed one run in the third inning.

“I think the first inning took a lot out of him,” Simunic said. “He labored a little bit after that, but was still effective.”

Penprase had two singles and also drew a walk. He scored runs in the third, fifth and seventh innings. Penprase scored on a Nic Jackson single in the third inning, giving the RedHawks a 2-1 lead. That proved to be the winning run.

“He’s a guy that’s a catalyst,” Simunic said of Penprase. “He’s the straw that stirs the drink. He does a lot of things.”

Stanton lowered his season ERA to 2.27, which is best in the American Association among active pitchers.

“I’m still kind of puzzled to why he is still here,” Penprase of Stanton. “I think he should get another chance in affiliated ball. Hopefully, we can have him for the rest of the year and he can keep pitching well.”

NOTES: Right-hander Alex Caldera

(8-5, 4.22 ERA) is set to start today for the RedHawks. Rockland is expected to counter with right-hander Bobby Blevins (8-7, 3.81 ERA). … Rockland right-hander reliever Alex Kreis is a former Grand Forks Central and Jamestown College standout. Kreis pitched one inning on Tuesday, allowing one earned run.

ROCKLAND REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Webb rf 4 0 0 0 Pnprse ss 3 3 2 0

Bmbck 2b 4 0 2 0 Brquin 3b 2 0 0 0

Edmnsn rf 4 1 1 0 Jacksn dh 3 0 2 1

Rivera 1b 4 0 2 1 Rthrfrd 2b 3 0 2 2

Molina dh 3 0 0 0 Brachld 1b 4 0 0 0

Cardllo 3b 3 0 1 0 Alberts rf 4 0 1 0

Mathws lf 4 0 0 0 Sosnski cf 4 0 1 0

Knazek c 4 0 0 0 Einertsn lf 4 0 0 0

Nandin ss 4 0 1 0 Jennings c 3 1 1 0

Totals 34 1 7 1 30 4 9 3

Rockland 001 000 000 –1 7 1

RedHawks 002 010 10x –4 9 3

E–Knazek, Bourquin 2, Jennings. 2B–Edmondson (2), Cardullo (5), Alberts (25). SF–Retherford (10). SB–Penprase (34). LOB–Rockland 8, RedHawks 7.

ROCKLAND

IP H R ER BB SO

Law (L, 0-2) 6 9 3 3 1 3

Kries 1 0 1 1 3 0

Frias 1 0 0 0 0 1

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Stnton (W,8-3) 6 6 1 1 2 7

Harris 2 1 0 0 0 2

Kilcrease (S,3) 1 0 0 0 0 2

Umpires–Home: Hicks. First: Stegner. Third: Linton. Time–2:25. A–4,068.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com