FARGO, N.D. - After offensive fireworks on Friday night and a pitchers’ duel for most of the game Saturday, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and Cleburne Railroaders required extra innings to decide a winner in Game 2 at Newman Outdoor Field. Alex Boxwell brought Will Zimmerman home on a swinging bunt in the bottom of the 10th inning to snatch a 2-1 win for the RedHawks in front of 2,725 fans to clinch a series win over the Railroaders.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, left fielder Will Zimmerman advanced to third after a walk, a wild pitch, and a balk by Cleburne reliever Brian Saucedo. Boxwell then chopped a check-swing single down the first base line to send Zimmerman home and give the RedHawks their first extra-innings victory of the season. The RedHawks had one other walk-off this season, but it occurred in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Fargo-Moorhead starter Logan Nissen pitched his best game of the season, going five innings and only allowing five hits while striking out five. The RedHawks used four pitchers in relief, including Austin Ver Steeg (2.0 innings, 3 hits, 1 run), Mark Finkelnburg (0.2 innings, 1 strikeout in his professional debut), Blake Rogers (1.1 innings, 2 strikeouts), and Alex DuBord (1.0 innings, 2 strikeouts, 1 hit). DuBord got the win after holding Cleburne scoreless in the top of the 10th inning.
Cleburne pitcher Michael Gunn threw a gem in his start for the Railroaders, as he went 7.0 innings while only allowing a run and three hits. He struck out eight batters in the game without a walk. At one point in the game Gunn retired 13 straight batters, and the lefty only allowed one hit through the first six innings. Reliever Kyle Chavez then came on in relief and threw 1.2 innings while not allowing a baserunner. Saucedo, who pitched in the 10th inning, only gave up one hit but got the loss.
The only other runs of the game were scored in the seventh inning. Cleburne scored their first run of the series after right fielder Hunter Clanin hit a leadoff single and stole second base before coming around to score when designated hitter Grant Buck drove him in with a single. In the bottom of the inning, Leo Pina hit a double into right-center field to lead off the inning and, after advancing to third, second baseman Jordan George seared a two-out double down the third-base line to tie the game.
Will Zimmerman looked to have given the RedHawks the game’s first lead in the second inning when he appeared to hit a two-out home run down the right-field line. However, the umpiring crew reversed the original on-field decision of a home run after conferring on the mound. Hitting coach Anthony Renz was thrown out of the game for arguing the decision. Catcher Dylan Kelly, who is currently recovering from a hand injury, filled in at first base for Renz for the remainder of the night.
Fargo-Moorhead and Cleburne will conclude their series with a 1:00 p.m. game tomorrow at Newman Outdoor Field. RHP Bret Helton (1-2, 5.40 ERA) is scheduled to start for the RedHawks against the Railroaders’ RHP Garrett Alexander (2-2, 6.64 ERA). After tomorrow’s series finale, the RedHawks will travel to Rosemont, Ill. to face off against the Chicago Dogs in a three-game series. Fargo-Moorhead’s next home game will be on Friday, June 18 at 7:02 p.m. against the Sioux Falls Canaries.
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