WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (62-38) beat the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 8-3 at Shaw Park on Monday afternoon.
The Goldeyes complete the 2017 regular season with 62 wins, which are the second most in franchise history.
“Just a really good finish to the season,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “It’s a really good club we played the last four games. We responded today. We got a really good start from Charle, good situational hitting, and put some runs on the board. It was just a good day. Credit the guys that we have. We had to play high level baseball and have some things fall our way. We have a pretty good team, some depth to our lineup, good starting pitching, and we’re able to get out of situations and carry good momentum.”
With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, Mason Katz hit a solo home run to centre field that gave Winnipeg a 1-0 lead.
Goldeyes’ starting pitcher Charle Rosario kept the RedHawks off the scoreboard over the first five innings. The RedHawks had runners on first and third with one out in the top of the first when Chris Grayson attempted a steal of second base. Devan Ahart broke for the plate when Katz threw to second, but Ahart was thrown out on a relay back to Katz from Casey Turgeon. After Josh Mazzola walked, Rosario retired KD Kang on a flyball to right that ended the inning. Beginning with Kang’s flyout, Rosario retired 12 batters in a row, and struck out the side in order in the top of the second.
In the top of the sixth, Ahart singled to left leading off. Yhoxian Medina attempted a sacrifice, which Rosario fielded and threw to second to force out Ahart. Grayson was next and hit a two-run home run to centre field that put Fargo-Moorhead in front 2-1.
The Goldeyes answered back in the bottom of the inning. Turgeon singled through the right side leading off. David Rohm then reached on a sacrifice attempt that resulted in an errant throw to second from RedHawks’ starting pitcher Will Solomon. After Josh Romanski sacrificed runners to second and third, Reggie Abercrombie lined a single to centre that scored Sohn with the tying run. Rohm came home on a wild pitch on a third strike to Shawn Pleffner that made it 3-2 Goldeyes.
Rosario (11-5) protected the lead in the seventh with a perfect inning and earned his 11th win of the year. Rosario allowed two earned runs on just four hits over seven innings. Rosario walked three and struck out six. It was Rosario’s 25th start of the season, which ties him with Gary SouthShore RailCats’ left-hander Alex Gunn for a new American Association single-season record. Gunn made his 25th start for the RailCats on Monday as well.
Katz led off the bottom of the seventh with another line drive home run to centre. Sohn followed with a single up the middle, stole second, and advanced to third when Turgeon beat out a sacrifice attempt. Rohm hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Sohn with the Goldeyes’ fifth run.
After Victor Capellan struck out two during a scoreless top of the eighth, the Goldeyes added three more runs in the bottom half. With one out, Katz hit his third home run of the afternoon, this time on a flyball to right-centre. Sohn lined a single to centre and stole second. Turgeon walked, and Sohn stole third base, giving the all-star shortstop 30 steals for the season. Rohm followed with an RBI single to right. Two batters later, Abercrombie singled to right to drive in Turgeon.
It was Capellan’s league-leading 50th appearance of the year, and marks just the sixth time in Goldeyes’ history a pitcher has made 50 appearances in one season.
Charlie Valerio lined a solo home run down the right field line with one out in the top of the ninth before Ryan Chaffee recorded the final two outs to close out the game.
Solomon (5-5) took the loss, allowing three runs, one earned, on five hits over five and two-thirds innings. Solomon walked one and struck out four.
Pleffner finishes the regular season with a .340 batting average, which leads the American Association. It is the Goldeyes’ first league batting champion since Kevin West led the Northern League with a .337 average in 2010.
With the RedHawks’ loss and the RailCats’ 3-2 win over Lincoln, Gary SouthShore wins the American Association wild card. The Goldeyes will face Lincoln in the American Association Division Series.
Game One of the American Association Division Series against the Lincoln Saltdogs is Wednesday, September 6th. First pitch from Haymarket Park is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Game Two of the best-of-five series is Thursday at 6:45 p.m.
The Goldeyes host Game Three of the series Saturday, September 9th at 6:05 p.m. The “if necessary” Games Four and Five will also be played at Shaw Park on Sunday, September 10th (4:05 p.m.) and Monday, September 11th (7:05 p.m.).
Tickets for all Goldeyes postseason home games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.
For information on Winnipeg Goldeyes’ season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com