RailCats Bullpen Falters as RedHawks Rally to Win
by Ryan Zimmerman, Gary SouthShore RailCats
Fargo, ND – The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks caught fire in the late innings at Newman Outdoor Field as they turned around a four-run deficit to defeat the Gary SouthShore RailCats 10-6 in the series opener.
Right away, the RailCats offense made the RedHawks pay for an early mistake. A two-out error allowed LG Castillo to reach base in the top of the first, and the next batter, Jesus Marriaga, roped a double off the wall in center field to score him, putting the ‘Cats ahead 1-0.
For the next five innings, starting pitcher Harrison Francis made that lone run stand up. He held the RedHawks to just one hit over that span, striking out three and stranding four on base to keep the RailCats in the lead.
Gary SouthShore rewarded Francis for his efforts by adding to their advantage in the top of the sixth. Castillo and Michael Woodworth strung together one-out singles, and Marriaga delivered once again as his base hit brought Woodworth home and doubled the RailCats lead to 2-0.
Fargo-Moorhead quickly answered back in the bottom of the inning through a leadoff home run, and a single placed the tying run on base, but Joel Huertas emerged from the bullpen to bail the RailCats out of trouble. He set the next two RedHawks down in succession to preserve the Gary SouthShore advantage.
Once again, the RailCats ignited their offense in the top of the seventh. Daniel Lingua kicked off the inning with a double, and Lester Madden tallied him by singling up the middle two batters later. Woodworth and Tom Walraven walked to load the bases, and Castillo grooved a single to center field to score two, extending the Gary SouthShore edge to 5-1.
Fargo-Moorhead struck back by plating a pair in the bottom of the frame, but the RailCats found a way out of danger and remained ahead by two runs with two innings left to play.
Gary SouthShore got their bats going in the top of the eighth and tacked on another insurance run. Lingua notched another double and promptly stole third base before Sam Abbott lifted a sacrifice fly to double up the RedHawks at 6-3.
At that point, though, the RedHawks took the game into their own hands. They brought home seven runs in the bottom of the eighth to turn a 6-3 deficit into a 10-6 lead to set the RailCats three outs away from defeat.
Although Woodworth recorded a base hit to give the RailCats a baserunner down to their final out, that was all they could muster in the top of the ninth. The RedHawks worked around the hit to blank them in the frame to secure the win.
The RailCats head back to Newman Outdoor Field at 7:02 p.m. tomorrow for another tilt against the RedHawks. All the action can be streamed on aabaseball.tv, 95.9 WEFM, and the Gary SouthShore RailCats Broadcast Network through the Mixlr app.