Red-hot Goldeyes roll over league-leading RedHawks

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Red-hot Goldeyes roll over league-leading RedHawks



A visit from the American Association’s top team didn’t phase the red hot Winnipeg Goldeyes Tuesday night at Shaw Park.

Reggie Pruitt Jr’s second grand slam of the season made all the difference for the Fish in the series opener against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks en route to a 6-4 win. Pruitt Jr. couldn’t have asked for a better performance following a lengthy absence due to injury and helped extend his team’s winning streak to six games.

“It’s Reggie’s first game back coming off an injury and… Reggie works hard and he worked hard to come back,” said Goldeyes hitting coach Amos Ramon. “He got a pitch he could handle and put a good swing on it… we’ve been doing things right at the right time, things are going well right now.”

Fargo-Moorhead has been the American Association’s most consistent team, coming into Tuesday’s contest with a league-best 29-11 record and only dropping back-to-back games twice this year.

Winnipeg needed to play as close to mistake-free baseball as possible Tuesday night at in order to knock off Fargo-Moorhead and rebounded from some early miscues.

The Goldeyes’ errors put them at a disadvantage early in the game when starting pitcher Freisis Adames balked, allowing RedHawks infielder Sam Dexter to advance. Evan Alexander got the visitors on the board two batters later with a two-run home in the top of the third inning. However, Adames responded by striking out the final batter of the side and was visibly pumped up walking off the mound.

“Adames bounced back, he gave up that home run and he had that one inning where he kind of struggled but he was able to come back,” said Ramon. “He pitched really well there in his last couple innings.”

It was punch and counter-punch in the early stages of the contest and just as the home side found itself in a 2-0 hole, All-Star catcher Deon Stafford Jr. and third-baseman Ian Sagdal engineered the response. Stafford Jr. kicked-started the bottom of the third inning with a double and Sagdal brought him home later in the frame.

The RedHawks were ready to build on their lead in the top of the fourth inning. Leobaldo Pina hit a double off of Adames and managed to score following a pair of wild pitches from the Goldeyes’ starter.

Pruitt Jr.’s grand slam in the following half-inning that put the fish up 5-3 was just the fourth home run RedHawks starting pitcher Tyler Grauer has given up this season. Grauer came into Tuesday’s game with a 4-1 record, 2.63 ERA and was recently named a league All-Star.

“There was times on the road… we weren’t getting that big hit and we’re coming up with it right now,” said Ramon.

Winnipeg’s lead was threatened in the top of the fifth inning until Goldeyes right-fielder Max Murphy made what could go down as the play of the year. Alexander launched what looked like a no-doubt three-run home run and a hush fell over the crowd before an eruption of cheers filled Shaw Park upon the realization of the robbery Murphy had committed.

Murphy’s lead-saving catch started an inning-ending double play that helped the Goldeyes breathe a bit easier.

“We just gotta keep riding the wave and keep playing our ball and things will work out,” said Ramon.

Stafford Jr. tacked on an insurance marker with his fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it 6-3 and it was all the offense the Fish needed to win. While their bats were strong, Winnipeg’s defensive game gave them a chance to win it.

Adames finished the game with five strikeouts and only gave up two hits in six innings of work. In addition, All-Star Tasker Strobel recorded the final four outs of the game for his seventh save of the season.

Goldeyes rookie sensation RJ Martinez takes the mound today for game two, which is set for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.

“That’s a good team over there, they’re in first place for a reason,” said Ramon. “We have RJ tomorrow and he’s been solid for us all year and he’ll be solid for us tomorrow.”

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Credit: Red-hot Goldeyes roll over league-leading RedHawks