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Laber Twirls One-Hit Shutout, RedHawks Win 2-0

07/11/2011 10:48 PM -
Monday night’s series opener between the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and Sioux Falls Pheasants saw two starting pitchers at opposite ends of their respective rotations pitch like aces.
 
In a classic pitcher’s duel, Fargo-Moorhead’s Jake Laber bested the Pheasants’ Brandon Rapoza in Sioux Falls’ 2-0 loss at Sioux Falls Stadium.
 
Laber (7-3) entered the game with a 2.46 ERA but had lost his first two starts in the month of July. He was nearly perfect on Monday on three days rest, allowing just one hit and striking out ten in his second complete game of the season.
 
“He was exceptional,” said manager Steve Shirley. “That may have been the best pitching performance I’ve seen against us.”
 
Rapoza (2-8) did everything he could to keep pace with Laber, giving up two runs on six hits in seven solid innings. Along with reliever Dan McDaniel, the duo did not allow a RedHawks base-runner past first base in the final four innings. McDaniel relinquished just one hit in two innings of scoreless relief.
 
But the Birds did not have an answer for Laber, who retired the final 13 batters, including striking out the side in the ninth to end the game. He faced just two batters above the minimum despite throwing 131 pitches.
 
Rapoza found himself in trouble in the third after Zach Penprase led off with a double and then stole third. A nifty bare-handed play by Trevor Lawhorn retired Mike Coles for the first out while holding Penprase a third. Following a walk to Carlo Cota, the right-hander induced Nic Jackson to ground into an inning-ending double play to keep Fargo off the board.
 
“I thought [Rapoza] pitched great,” Shirley said. “He just got outdueled tonight.”
 
The RedHawks scored the game’s first run in the fourth when C.J. Retherford’s two-out double drove in Jesse Hoorelbeke.
 
Laber was perfect through four innings before Reggie Abercrombie led off the fifth with a double. Abercrombie reached third in the inning on a wild throw by Laber, but would get no further as the left-hander struck out the side. Fargo added another run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Nic Jackson.
 
The two clubs face off in the second of this three-game set beginning at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12, at Sioux Falls Stadium.


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