Northern League home run leader Jesse Hoorelbeke led off the 11th
inning with his 15th
longball of the year, sending the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks to a 1-0 (11 inning) win over the Gary SouthShore RailCats Wednesday afternoon at U. S. Steel Yard, giving the ‘Hawks a sweep of the three-game series.
The loss is the RailCats fourth in a row – their longest losing streak of the year – and marked the first time all season the ‘Cats have been swept in a series of any length. The RailCats were shutout twice in the three-game set, losing 4-0 Monday, and left 13 men on base (eight in scoring position) in the loss Wednesday. The setback also dropped the ‘Cats to .500 for the first time since June 9.
James Baker (1-3) became the fifth RailCats pitcher of the day when he came on to start the 11th and Hoorelbeke greeted him with a long drive over the wall in straightaway left on a 2-2 pitch. Baker later had runners at first and third with one out, but avoided further damage by striking out Kole Zimmerman and getting Jay Cox to fly out to center.
The RailCats did have a chance in the bottom of the 11th, just as they had most of the day Wednesday, but Adam Klein hit into a game-ending 3-6-3 double play with Jeff Beachum on first base. The ’Cats had several other significant threats, including in the bottom of the 10th when Mike Massaro led off with a single and the RailCats worked runners to first and second with two outs. Alex Kent (1-0) got Mike Rohde to ground out to end that threat and Kent pitched a scoreless 11th as well to earn his first professional win.
The best chance all day for the RailCats may have been in the very first inning, when newcomer Brian Kolb doubled in his first professional at bat. Kolb went to third moments later on a passed ball, but Fargo starter Scott Fogelson struck out Massaro and got Cristian Guerrero to ground out to end the inning. The ‘Cats mounted another rally in the third, getting runners to first and third with one out but once again failing to push a run across.
Kolb went 2-for-5 in his professional debut and was the only RailCat with two hits. The all-time leading hitter at Wheaton (Ill.) College, Kolb was signed just before the start of Wednesday’s game and started the contest at shortstop, batting second in the order. Kolb’s double was also the RailCats only extra-base hit as six other hitters rounded out the eight-hit attack.
The loss spoiled another excellent outing from Willie Glen, who gave up just three singles – two on the infield – in seven sparkling innings. Glen walked four and struck out four and has now thrown 16.0 innings this season without allowing a run to the RedHawks. The right-hander fired his second career shutout June 26 in Fargo and lowered his season ERA to 3.38 with Wednesday’s start, good for 8th best in the Northern League. Andy Shipman worked two innings of scoreless relief to keep the game 0-0 through 10 innings.
Fogelson was also very sharp for Fargo-Moorhead, going 7.0 innings and scattering seven hits. The left-hander struck out four and walked two, and was followed by scoreless outings from relievers Matt Petrusek, Adam Tollefson and Kent. Hoorelbeke had a third inning infield single and was the only RedHawk with two hits, as the ‘Cats out-hit Fargo 8-7.