FARGO, N.D. 6-25-2010 – Mike Reese picked a good time for his first home run of the year, taking T.J. Stanton deep with one out in the top of the 10th inning to give the Gary SouthShore RailCats a heart-stopping 4-3 win over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Friday night at Newman Outdoor Field.
Just minutes after Jay Cox hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the game to extras, Reese took a 1-0 pitch and drove it to the scoreboard in straightaway left to snap a 1-for-27 slump. The longball was Reese’s 13th as a RailCat but first of 2010, and Brad Furnish struck out Northern League home run leader Jesse Hoorelbeke and Cory Patton in order to end a 1-2-3 10th and earn just the third save of his pro career.
The RailCats looked in command of the game, scoring early and taking a 3-0 lead to the ninth on the strength of an excellent start from Brad Halsey. But Andy Shipman (1-0) ) blew a save for the first time in 11 chances when Cox’s opposite field line drive just cleared the top of the wall down the left field line to bring in the three tying runs.
Halsey, starting for just the second time since June 9, got some help from his defense early, then cruised through seven innings in his most impressive outing as a RailCat. The former Major Leaguer had double plays turned behind him in each of the first three innings, keeping Fargo off the scoreboard despite the first two RedHawks runners reaching base in each of those innings. Mike Massaro also cut down Cory Patton trying to go first to third on a base hit in the third.
Halsey closed his outing strong by retiring 12 of the last 15 men he faced and went through 7.0 innings on just 88 pitches. The southpaw surrendered seven hits and two walks, striking out three. Jeff Williams replaced Halsey in the eighth and immediately got into trouble with runners on second and third with one out, but Williams whiffed Hoorelbeke and got Patton to foul out to end the inning.
Adam Klein started the RailCats with a leadoff single in the first and scored on a Massaro base hit later in the inning. The RailCats added two big insurance runs in the fifth, when Klein walked to extend the inning and came in along with Mike Rohde on a two-out Jay Pecci double.
Each team had 10 hits in the game, with Klein, Massaro and Jeff Beachum each collecting a pair. Patton, Cox and Eric Campbell each had two hits to lead Fargo, which lost despite a second straight strong outing from their starting pitcher. Jake Laber went 8.0 innings Friday and allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits and just one walk.
The RailCats (19-16) and RedHawks (20-11) will get back at it Saturday night at 6 p.m. at Newman Outdoor Field, with right-hander Willie Glen (3-2, 4.32 ERA) set to start for the ‘Cats opposite Chad Rhoades (3-1, 2.17 ERA). The game will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.
Notes: The RailCats are 2-0 this season in extra-inning games … Reese, who did not play in 2009 while completing his Master’s Degree, last homered August 23, 2008 in a game against Joliet at U. S. Steel Yard … with the win, the RailCats guarantee themselves a winning record during their current stretch of 16-of-20 games on the road. The ‘Cats are 9-5 so far.