The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks moved in to first place behind a 12-9 victory over the Lake County Fielders on Wednesday night at Zion, IL.
The Fielders jumped on the board in the second inning, thanks to some patient at-bats by the Lake County hitters. They loaded the bases on three walks by RedHakws starting pitcher Matt Mossey (5-3). Anthony Esquer grounded out to first and Brian McFall beat the throw to the plate to push across the first run of the ball game for the Fielders, without the benefit of a hit.
But the lead would not last long. The RedHawks took the lead in the next inning on an RBI single by Cory Patton. Nic Jackson hit a two-run double off the top of the right field wall and Jesse Hoorelbeke followed that with an RBI double just fair down the left field line.
Lake County responded in the bottom of the third. Joshua Short crushed a long two-run home run to left field, scoring Amos Ramon. The home run is the 21st of the season for Short, tying him for the Northern League lead with Hoorelbeke, for the time being.
The RedHawks then pulled away on a pair of home runs by Jay Cox. He hit a solo home run to right field in the fourth and followed that with a three-run home run around the left field foul pole in the fifth inning, pushing Fargo’s lead to 8-3.
But the Fielders again proved their resilience when they batted around in the seventh inning, plating four runs and making it 8-7. With the bases loaded, Short lined a shot off of pitcher Casey Hoorelbeke, who threw the ball away trying to get Guillermo Martinez at home, allowing Juan Valdes to score as well.
Amos Ramon then scored on a wild pitch with McFall batting. Jeff Dunbar added a sacrifice fly, but the Fielders could not push across the tying run, stranding runners on second and third.
The RedHawks gained some breathing room again in the top of the eighth, when Jesse Hoorelbeke lined a two-run home run just over the left field wall, his 22nd of the season.
The Fielders got the two runs back on another home run by Short, his 2nd of the game and 22nd of the season, again tying him with Jesse Hoorelbeke for the league lead.
But the RedHawks got two again in the top of the ninth when Cory Patton hit a two run double into the right-center field gap.
Donnie Smith struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth, securing the 12-9 RedHawks win and the series split.
Despite getting the loss, recently signed Micah Spencer (0-1) pitched well in his professional debut. In 3.1 innings, he allowed five runs on seven hits, walking only one while striking out six, including striking out the side in the second inning.
The Fielders open up the last series of this long homestand Thursday night against the Gary SouthShore RailCats. Zach Ward (5-5, 4.44) will face-off against Andy Weeks (0-0, 4.65) at 7:00pm in Zion.
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