FARGO, N.D. --- Will Zimmerman played hero in his professional debut tonight with a walk-off sacrifice bunt that led to a run-scoring error in a 5-4 comeback win over the Houston Apollos in front of 2,751 fans on Friday night at Newman Outdoor Field. Logan Nissen pitched 2.1 innings in relief and got the win in the contest.
The RedHawks took a 2-0 in the third inning after stringing together two hits and two errors off Apollos starter Tucker Smith. They then added a run in the fourth after Correlle Prime, who hit a lead-off double, was brought around on hits by John Silviano and Leo Pina. Dylan Kelly led the way for the RedHawks at the plate tonight, going 3-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored in the game.
The Apollos, who came into tonight’s game with the American Association’s worst record, would not go down without a fight. After going four innings without a hit, a Blake Berry single and Ian Yetsko home run in the top of the fourth inning got Houston within a run. Yetsko would then tie the game with a two-out single the next inning, and the Apollos would take the lead on an Alex DuBord wild pitch one batter later. Yetsko was 2-for-4 with three runs batted in and one run in the game.
Nissen came into the game with two outs in the 7th inning and faced the minimum through four batters. However, the Apollos hit a leadoff single and a one-out walk in the top of the 9th to get their final scoring threat of the night. Nissen, who made his second appearance of the season on Friday night, got catcher Hudson Bilodeau to hit into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning and start the rally.
Jordan George crushed the first pitch he saw from Apollos pitcher Ryan Richardson in the bottom of the ninth over the right-field fence and onto Albrecht Boulevard to tie the game at four runs apiece before Dylan Kelly got on base with a double of his own. After Sam Dexter was hit by a pitch, Zimmerman came up to the plate for his fourth professional plate appearance.
He laid down a bunt on a pitch that was in on his hands and forced Houston catcher Hudson Bilodeau to make a play. Bilodeau threw the ball away, allowing Dylan Kelly to scamper home and score the game-winning run. Zimmerman was credited with a sacrifice and Bilodeau was given an error that brought in the game-winning run.
The RedHawks and Apollos will continue their three-game series on Saturday night at Newman Outdoor Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. RHP Austin Ver Steeg (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to make his first professional start for the RedHawks against the Apollos’ LHP Abdoullah Aris (0-1. 8.21 ERA) in tomorrow night’s contest.
Saturday night is Hawkeye Bobblehead Night. The first 1,000 fans at Newman Outdoor Field will receive a free Hawkeye bobblehead, the first of a four-part 25th anniversary commemorative bobblehead set, presented by Bell Bank.
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