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Eric Peterson, Published August 15 2013

Bourquin blasts spark RedHawks to home victory

FARGO – Jake Laber got his groove back Thursday afternoon at Newman Outdoor Field.

The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks left-hander scattered seven hits to earn the complete-game victory. His performance helped lift the RedHawks to a 5-1 victory against the Rockland (N.Y.) Boulders in independent baseball before a sellout crowd of 4,759 fans.

Laber had struggled in his previous four outings, allowing 26 runs, including 18 earned, in 19Xc innings. He also gave up 34 hits in that stretch.

“I was really thinking about throwing with confidence, especially when a guy gets on base. It’s not the end of the world,” Laber said. “You don’t have to make every pitch perfect when a guy is on base.”

The RedHawks (54-30) have won 11 of their past 13 games to maintain their lead in the American Association North Division. F-M took three of four games from Rockland, which is a member of the Can-Am League and plays its home games in Pomona, N.Y.

The RedHawks start a three-game series at 7:05 tonight at Wichita. The Wingnuts have the best record in the American Association, while F-M has the second best. Wichita is in first place in the Central Division.

“I’m anxious to get down to Wichita to see what it’s going to be like and what their team is going to be like,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said.

Simunic liked what he saw from Laber against Rockland. Laber pitched his first complete-game this season and lowered his ERA to 3.73. He threw 117 pitches, including 80 strikes.

“We needed it today because our bullpen was real short,” Simunic said. “We didn’t have a lot of people available.”

Third baseman Ronnie Bourquin stoked the F-M offense, blasting a pair of two-run home runs. The first Bourquin homer was followed by Nic Jackson’s solo shot, which gave the RedHawks a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

Bourquin added his second two-run blast in the fifth inning to stake F-M to a 5-1 lead. The left-handed swinging Bourquin went 3-for-4 with four RBIs.

“The last few days, I hadn’t been swinging the bat really well,” Bourquin said. “I just wanted to try to simplify everything today, and make sure I was seeing the pitches early on.”

Laber said Bourquin’s home runs helped put him at ease early in the game.

“Pitching with the lead is a lot more fun, especially after Ronnie hit that second home run,” Laber said. “Then you can pitch more aggressive.”

NOTES: Right-hander Brian Ernst (4-2, 4.27 ERA) is set to start today for the RedHawks at Wichita. The Wingnuts are expected to counter with right-hander Junior Garcia (8-3, 3.29 ERA). … Thursday’s crowd of 4,759 fans was the 10th sellout at Newman Outdoor Field this season. … The RedHawks have a 28-15 record at Newman this season. They are 26-15 on the road. … F-M has an 11-3 record against teams from the Can-Am League this season.

ROCKLAND REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Webb cf 4 0 0 0 Pnprs ss 4 1 1 0

Nndin ss 4 0 0 0 Brquin 3b 4 2 3 4

Edmnsn rf 4 0 0 0 Jcksn cf 4 1 2 1

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

Bmbck 2b 4 0 1 0 Brchld 1b 4 0 0 0

Molina dh 4 1 2 0 Alberts dh 3 0 2 0

Crdllo 3b 3 0 2 0 Sosnski rf 3 0 1 0

Mathws lf 2 0 1 1 Enrtsn lf 3 0 0 0

Knazk c 3 0 1 0 Jenings c 3 1 1 0

Totals 32 1 7 1 32 5 11 5

Rockland 010 000 000 –1 7 1

RedHawks 300 020 00x –5 11 1

E–Rivera (1), Penprase (17). LOB–RedHawks 3, Rockland 5. 2b–Matthews (3), Knazek (2), Retherford (21). DP–RedHawks 2, Rockland 3. HR–Bourquin 2 (13), Jackson (7). SB–Penprase (36). CS–Sosnoskie (2).

ROCKLAND

IP H R ER BB SO

Roe, L 0-1 5 9 5 5 0 1

Serino 1 1 0 0 0 1

Frias 1 0 0 0 0 1

Keris 1 1 0 0 0 1

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Laber, W 7-5 9 7 1 1 0 4

Umpires–Home: Linton. First: Hicks. Third: Stegner. Time–2:10. A–4,759.


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

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