Tyler Alexander Fans 15 to Lead RedHawks to 4-1 Victory
For the fourth time in his last nine starts, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks left-hander Tyler Alexander used his impressive array of pitches to mow down at least 10 batters in a contest. This time it was the St. Paul Saints, who now have been the recipients of the lefty’s awesome arsenal for the second time this season. Friday night, Alexander struck out 15 in earning his fifth straight win, as the RedHawks were victorious 4-1.
This was an impressive pitching performance from Alexander and St. Paul starter Corey Williams. Both hurlers shut down the opposing offenses through the first four innings of the game. Alexander struck out the side in the first and third innings, and allowed a lone hit in the first four frames. He had 8-Ks to that point.
Williams was looking nearly as good. The lefty had 6-strikeouts and 2-hits allowed entering the fifth. This had all the earmarks of a classic pitchers’ duel.
In the fifth, both teams would finally get on the board. Tony Caldwell doubled with one out. A single by Alonzo Harris moved him to third and Caldwell scored on an error to give St. Paul the 1-0 lead.
The RedHawks came right back in the bottom of the fifth. Brian Humphries singled to start the frame and moved to second when Charlie Valerio followed with a walk. Kes Carter was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded with one out. Williams struck out Ryan Pineda for the second out of the inning, but he came too far inside on Keury De La Cruz, hitting him to drive in a run to tie the score. Benji Waite took over and walked Josh Mazzola. That scored Valerio to give Fargo-Moorhead the lead and they would not relinquish it.
Following the run in the fifth, Alexander simply cruised. He gave up a leadoff single in the sixth, but would not allow another hit the rest of the way to earn his second complete game of the season.
It was a tight 2-1 game until the bottom of the eighth when the RedHawks gave their starter a little insurance. K.D. Kang walked to start the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. Caleb Thielbar relieved for Waite and was greeted by a single off of the bat of Humphries. Kang then scored on a wild pitch and Humphries came home on a base hit by Mike Gilmartin. That made it 4-1, which would be the final.
Alexander (11-3) earned the win, going 9-innings, allowing 4-hits, 3-walks, and 1-unearned run. He struck out 15, moving his American Association leading total to 137. His 11-wins are tied for the league lead with the Saints Mark Hamburger.
Humprhries finished the day 3-4 with 2-runs scored for Fargo-Moorhead. Harris had 2-hits for the Saints.
Game 2 of this three-game set is Saturday evening. Hamburger (11-3, 3.17) will go looking to break a personal three-game losing streak. He will be opposed by Brian Ernst (2-3, 4.68). Game time is 6:00.
By Robert Pannier