RailCats even series with Fargo
By Eric Peterson Special to the Post-Tribune September 5, 2013 11:16PM
Stephen Hiscock of the Gary Southshore RailCats pitches against the F-M Redhawks during their baseball game Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, in Fargo, N.D. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Updated: October 7, 2013 1:35PM
FARGO, N.D. — Reid Fronk injected life into what had been a dormant RailCats postseason offense Thursday night at Newman Outdoor Field.
Fronk had five RBI to spark the RailCats to an 11-2 victory against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the American Association playoff semifinals before 2,068 fans.
“We stuck with our approach,” Fronk said. “We stuck with what we’ve been doing all year and did our thing.”
Gary evened the best-of-5 series at 1-1 with the victory. Game 3 is scheduled for 7:10 tonight at the Steel Yard. The final three games of the series (Game 5, if necessary) are scheduled to be played in Gary.
“We’ve got to go down there and try to get on top of them and make them play catch-up,” RedHawks manager Doug Simunic said of the series moving to the Steel Yard.
The RailCats made the RedHawks play catch-up in Game 2. Gary had two innings of at least four runs on Thursday, one night after the RailCats were held scoreless on six hits. The RedHawks earned a 2-0 victory in Wednesday’s Game 1.
“We wanted to at least get one here,” said Fronk, who went 3-for-5 in Game 2. “We feel comfortable in our ballpark. We feel good to go home 1-1.”
Fronk had RBI hits in the first, fifth and sixth innings to help the RailCats build a 6-0 lead. The left-handed swinging Fronk drove in Gary’s first four runs.
The RailCats took control with a four-run fifth inning. Fronk led the rally with a three-run double into right field. He later scored on a Zac Mitchell single, which gave Gary a 5-0 lead.
“That was huge,” Fronk said. “It’s nice to be able to put some runs on the board. It’s nice to be able to exhale a little bit after that inning.”
The RedHawks used three different pitchers in the fifth inning. F-M starter Alex Caldera walked a batter and gave up single to the first two Gary batters in the fifth before he was lifted. Gary had five hits in the game-changing inning, including four singles.
“We could never get out of it,” Simunic said of the Gary fifth. “Four runs came in and it pretty much took us out of the game.”
Caldera allowed three runs on six hits in four-plus innings. The right-hander struck out four batters and walked four.
“We’ve got to pitch better,” Simunic said. “We’ve got to get off the big part of the plate. … Caldera was pitching out of trouble the whole night.”
The RailCats ended any hope of an F-M comeback with a five-run eighth inning. Mitchell had a two-run double in that inning to help Gary build an 11-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.
RailCats starter Stephen Hiscock had a solid outing, pitching into the seventh inning to earn the victory. The right-hander allowed one run on five hits in 62/3 innings.
“Their guy was not overpowering,” Simunic said. “He just spotted the ball well; kept the ball on the edge. We couldn’t mount anything.”
Notes: Right-hander Brian Ernst (7-2, 4.34 ERA) is slated to start Game 3 for the RedHawks. The RailCats are expected to counter with right-hander Billy Spottiswood (6-3, 3.44 ERA). … The RedHawks have a 12-6 postseason record against the RailCats.