FARGO, ND – Aided by Mother Nature, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks escaped with a wild 4-2 win in a rain shortened game over the Lincoln Saltdogs before 3,380 fans at Newman Outdoor Field.
It was evident early on it would be a showcasing of the right arms of sFargo-Moorhead's Tyler Herron and Lincoln's Shairon Martis.
The Saltdogs scored first in the second inning. Mike Gilmartin would single to lead off the inning and would advance to third on back-to-back 4-3 putouts putting a runner in scoring position with two outs. Tyler Herron made a costly mistake, as Gilmartin would score on a wild pitch giving the 'Dogs a 1-0 lead.
Shairon Martis baffled RedHawks hitters all night long. Battling the elements, the former big leaguer took a perfect game into the fourth inning. Zach Penprase led off the home half of the fourth inning with a single slapped to right ending Martis' perfect game bid and no-hitter while extending his hitting streak to six games. However, Penprase was picked off of first meaning Martis had only faced the minimum through four innings after he struck out Drew Muren and forced Chad Mozingo to ground out.
A similar situation unfurled in the bottom of the fifth. Joe Dunigan was plunked in the elbow, but Martis managed to swiftly pick him off as well. He would force Luke Bailey to fly out to shallow right and through five he had faced the minimum 15 batters.
Tyler Herron lived dangerously all night for the RedHawks. He stranded a pair right away in the first inning. In the third the right-hander had runners on the corners before recording back-to-back strikeouts getting himself out of the jam. His battery mate Charlie Valerio helped him out of another jam in the sixth. After Eddie Young roped a double to straightaway center to leadoff, Herron retired the next two batters. Facing Mitch Canham, Herron delivered a strike and Valerio caught Young with a big lead and gunned down to second where Penprase was waiting to apply the tag for the third out.
Lincoln got to Herron as his luck of dangerous innings ran out in the sixth frame. Curt Smith reached on a fielding error from Ryan Pineda to start. Juan Medina would walk advancing Smith to second and Jeremy Hamilton would drive him in on a towering fly ball that dropped just short of the outstretched glove of Chad Mozingo giving the Saltdogs a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile the rain continued to fall at Newman Outdoor Field. The grounds crew attempted to apply drying sand to the moppy basepaths in the middle of the sixth inning but the umpiring crew deemed the field suitable for baseball and play continued on through the sheets of rain
Martis would return for the home half of the seventh inning when the wheels fell off the tracks. The right-hander had only required 66 pitches through the first six innings and had faced the minimum of 18 batters when Muren would walk to start. After striking out Mozingo, Martis would issue another walk to Joe Bonfe giving the RedHawks a pair of base runners with two outs. Manager Ken Oberkfell opted to go with Conor Spink out of the bullpen to get the final out of the frame. Joe Dunigan stepped to the plate to face Spink first. Facing a 2-2 count, Dunigan battled and fouled off four straight pitches before he laced a hard hit single to third. He would beat out the throw from Eddie Young scoring Muren. Luke Bailey followed by sending another grounder Young's way, who misfired low allowing Bonfe to score easily and Dunigan to wheel home as well. Suddenly leading 3-2, Charlie Valerio then reached on an error from shortsop Mike Gilmartin scoring Bailey giving the 'Hawks the improbable 4-2 lead.
The rain had picked up in the beginning of the seventh inning and the umpiring crew headed by Tim Kreamer behind home plate ruled the game be put in a delay after Bailey had crossed home. After a thirty minute rain delay, the game was called final and Fargo-Moorhead escaped with a 4-2 win.
Tyler Herron (5-6) earns the win going seven strong innings allowing just two runs (one earned) on five hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Martis turned in a stellar outing, going 6.2 innings of one hit baseball, allowing two runs (one earned) with a pair of walks and six strikeouts. Conor Spink (4-6) takes the loss after failing to record an out and allowing two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh.
With the win Fargo-Moorhead improves to 31-50 and ensures at least a split in the four game series with the Saltdogs. The club has won back-to-back games and eight of their last ten. A win tomorrow would clinch a fourth straight series win. Lincoln falls to 30-51 with the loss.
Game three of four is set for tomorrow night as Ty Kelley (4-6, 4.80 ERA) will take the ball for the RedHawks countered by Chase Cunningham (0-0, 3.21 ERA) for Lincoln. First pitch is scheduled for 7:02 p.m with a 6:40 pre-game show on 740 AM The Fan with Scott Miller on the call.
Notes: Zach Penprase and Joe Dunigan extended their hitting streaks to five and nine games, respecively. Drew Muren went 0-for-2 with a run scored, but the rain shortened contest cut him short of an at-bat and his 11 game hitting streak was snapped.
Game Date: 08/18/2015
Lincoln Saltdogs 2 AT Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 4
Lincoln AB R H BI AVG Fargo AB R H BI AVG
M.Forgatch CF 4 0 1 0 .270 Z.Penprase SS 3 0 1 0 .291
A.Payne 2B 4 0 1 0 .246 D.Muren CF 2 1 0 0 .259
M.Canham 1B 4 0 1 0 .306 C.Mozingo LF 3 0 0 0 .321
C.Smith DH 3 1 0 0 .305 J.Bonfe 1B 2 1 0 0 .296
M.Gilmartin SS 3 1 1 0 .259 J.Dunigan RF 2 1 1 1 .238
J.Medina C 2 0 0 0 .192 L.Bailey DH 3 1 0 0 .246
J.Hamilton LF 3 0 1 1 .213 C.Valerio C 3 0 0 0 .280
T.White RF 1 0 0 0 .214 M.Wing 3B 2 0 0 0 .238
E.Young 3B 2 0 0 0 .230 R.Pineda 2B 2 0 0 0 .236
26 2 5 1 22 4 2 1
Lincoln 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 - 2 5 2
Fargo 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 - 4 2 1
2B--A.Payne (7). RBI--J.Hamilton (29), J.Dunigan (48). HP--J.Dunigan (2).
E--M.Gilmartin (16), E.Young (20), R.Pineda (8).
LOB--Lincoln 7, Fargo 1.
IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
S.Martis 6.2 1 2 1 2 6 0 3.40
C.Spink (L,4-6) 0.0 1 2 0 0 0 0 3.78
6.2 2 4 1 2 6 0
T.Herron (W,5-6) 7.0 5 2 1 4 6 0 4.27
7 5 2 1 4 6 0
WP--T.Herron (1). HB--S.Martis (6). SO--M.Forgatch, M.Canham, C.Smith,
M.Gilmartin 2, J.Medina, Z.Penprase, D.Muren, C.Mozingo, J.Dunigan,
L.Bailey, M.Wing. BB--J.Medina, T.White 2, E.Young, D.Muren, J.Bonfe.
BF--S.Martis 22 (332), C.Spink 3 (234), T.Herron 30 (497). P-S--S.Martis
85-57, C.Spink 15-10, T.Herron 121-75.
Game delayed 30 mins, called with two outs in bottom of seventh inning.
Weather: 60 F and Rainy