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Eric Peterson, Published September 05 2013

Gary SouthShore evens series against RedHawks

FARGO – Reid Fronk injected life into what had been a dormant Gary SouthShore postseason offense Thursday night at Newman Outdoor Field.

Fronk had five RBIs to spark the RailCats to an 11-2 victory against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the American Association playoff semifinals before 2,068 fans.

“We stuck with our approach,” Fronk said. “We stuck with what we’ve been doing all year and did our thing.”

Gary evened the best-of-5 series at 1-1 with the victory. Game 3 is scheduled for 7:10 tonight at U.S. Steel Yard.

The final three games of the series (Game 5 if necessary) are all scheduled for Gary.

“We’ve got to go down there and try to get on top of them and make them play catch-up,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said of the series moving to the U.S. Steel Yard.

The RailCats made the RedHawks play catch-up in Game 2 at Newman. Gary had two innings of at least four runs on Thursday evening, one night after the RailCats were held scoreless on six hits. The RedHawks earned a 2-0 victory in Wednesday’s Game 1.

“We wanted to at least get one here,” said Fronk, who went 3-for-5 in Game 2. “We feel comfortable in our ballpark. We feel good to go home 1-1.”

Fronk had RBI hits in the first, fifth and sixth innings to help the RailCats build a 6-0 lead. The left-handed swinging Fronk drove in Gary’s first four runs.

The RailCats took control with a four-run fifth inning. Fronk started the rally with a three-run double into right field. He later scored on a Zac Mitchell single, which gave Gary a 5-0 lead.

“That was huge,” Fronk said. “It’s nice to be able to put some runs on the board. It’s nice to be able to exhale a little bit after that inning.”

The RedHawks used three different pitchers in the fifth inning. F-M starter Alex Caldera walked a batter and gave up a single to the first two Gary batters in the fifth before he was lifted. Gary had five hits in the game-changing inning, including four singles.

“We could never get out of it,” Simunic said of the Gary fifth. “Four runs came in and it pretty much took us out of the game.”

Caldera allowed three runs on six hits in four-plus innings. The right-hander struck out four batters and walked four.

“We’ve got to pitch better,” Simunic said. “We’ve got to get off the big part of the plate. … Caldera was pitching out of trouble the whole night.”

The RailCats ended any hope of an F-M comeback with a five-run eighth inning. Mitchell had a two-run double in that inning to help Gary build an 11-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.

RailCats starter Stephen Hiscock had a solid outing, pitching into the seventh inning to earn the victory. The right-hander allowed one run on five hits in 6 Xc innings.

“Their guy was not overpowering,” Simunic said. “He just spotted the ball well; kept the ball on the edge. We couldn’t mount anything.”

NOTES: Right-hander Brian Ernst (7-2, 4.34 ERA) is slated to start Game 3 for the RedHawks. The RailCats are expected to counter with right-hander Billy Spottiswood (6-3, 3.44 ERA). … The RedHawks have a 12-6 postseason record against Gary SouthShore.

GARY REDHAWKS

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Klein lf 3 1 0 1 Pnprse ss 3 1 1 0

Mssro rf 6 2 4 0 Borquin 3b 3 0 1 0

Gurero dh 6 2 2 0 Jackson cf 4 0 0 0

Fronk 1b 5 1 3 5 Rthrfrd 2b 4 1 2 0

Babnau c 5 2 2 0 Piepkorn rf 4 0 1 0

Kolb 3b 5 1 0 0 Brnchld 1b 4 0 0 1

Mrtinez cf 5 1 2 1 Alberts dh 3 0 0 0

Mitchell ss 3 1 3 3 Hrnndez lf 3 0 1 0

Pulfer 2b 5 0 2 1 Jenning c 3 0 0 0

Brcktt 2b 0 0 0 0

Totals 43 11 18 11 Totals 31 2 6 1

GARY 100 041 050 –11 18 0

REDHAWKS 000 000 110 –2 6 3

E–Penprase (1), Retherford (1), Piepkorn (1). LOB-Gary 13, RedHawks 5. DP-Gary 1, RedHawks 1. 2B-Guerrero (2), Fronk 2 (2), Mitchell (1), Retherford (1), Piepkorn (1). CS-Mitchell (1). SB-Martinez (1), Penprase (2), Bourquin (1).

GARY

IP H R ER BB SO

Hiscock, W 6Xc 5 1 1 3 2

Krout 1Zc 1 1 1 1 0

Uriegas 1 0 0 0 0 1

REDHAWKS

IP H R ER BB SO

Caldera, L 4 6 3 3 4 4

Miramontes Zc 3 2 1 0 0

Opsahl 2Xc 4 1 1 1 3

Bodishbaugh 2 5 5 5 1 2

Umpires–Home: Hicks. First: McLaughlin. Third: Stegner. Time–2:58. A–2,086.


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

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