(POMONA, N.Y.) – The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks put the tying run on base in the top of the ninth inning but were unable to plate it as Rockland held on for a 4-3 win at Provident Bank Park on Tuesday night. It was the fifth straight win for the Boulders (47-35) who improved to a franchise record 12 games above .500.
A pitcher’s duel at the start, neither team was able get a runner past first until the fourth inning. In the bottom of that frame, Rockland’s Antone DeJesus doubled off Taylor Stanton to start a bizarre inning. Ryan Stovall was called out on strikes and eventually ejected for arguing before Jerod Edmondson singled home DeJesus to open the scoring. The next batter, Joe Maloney, had to exit the game after suffering an injury following a swing on a 1-0 pitch.
Will Walsh would replace Maloney and promptly single to put two runners on with one out. An RBI single from Stephen Cardullo plated Edmondson, giving the Boulders a 2-0 lead. Marcus Nidiffer followed with what looked to be a sure double play ball, but Frank Salerno’s relay throw pulled C.J. Retherford off the bag. That allowed Walsh to score from third and add another run.
The three run lead proved fitting for Salazar, who set down 12 in a row at one point. That stretch would eventually end in the sixth when Zach Penprase singled with one out. Two batters later, Nic Jackson tripled to put the RedHawks (38-50) on the board. Salazar eventually got out of that inning and worked around a two-out single in the seventh to finish his outing.
Meanwhile, the offense added an all-important insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Sean O’Hare, who replaced the ejected Stovall, tripled to right to lead off the inning and came home on Edmondson’s second RBI single of the night. That made it a 4-1 Rockland lead, which proved to be the most crucial run of the night.
Fray Martinez gave up a pair of two-out singles in the eighth, but escaped without allowing a run to score, setting up closer Chad Robinson in the ninth. Robinson issued a pair of walks to start the frame before inducing a weak pop-up from Sawyer Carroll for the first out of the inning. Salerno was able to come through with a two-run double, cutting the Boulders lead to 4-3 and putting the tying run in scoring position.
A wild pitch from Robinson ricocheted right back to catcher Marcus Nidiffer who threw out Salerno attempting to advance. Fargo-Moorehead got the tying run back on base as Anthony Kaskadden singled with two outs but Penprase flew out to right center, ending the game.
Salazar (9-5) tied a Boulders single-season record with his ninth win, tossing seven innings of one run ball while striking out seven and allowing just five hits. The previous record was held by Bobby Blevins, set in 2013. Taylor Stanton (1-2) got the loss, allowing four runs in six innings of work. Despite allowing two runs on two hits, and issuing two walks, Robinson was able to pick up his 10th save of the season.
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