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Rusch's 13 strikeouts lead Goldeyes to playoff berth

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The Winnipeg Goldeyes clinched the American Association's wild-card playoff berth Saturday night at Shaw Park with a 5-1 win over the North Division champion Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

Pitcher Matt Rusch recorded the win for Winnipeg, his 10th of the season, and struck out 13 batters. At one point, he struck out six batters in a row, which tied a team record for consecutive punchouts in a game. He and reliever Brian Beuning combined for 16 strikeouts. The Goldeyes' record for most strikeouts in a game is 17 set in 1997.

"The most important thing was for us to get the win, get in the playoffs and go from there," said Rusch, whose 13 Ks tied a  career high.

"To come out and keep the intensity, I just kind of wanted to tell these guys, 'Just follow me tonight' and hopefully everything works out and it did and I'm happy. The most important thing was just getting them out. It feels good to get in a groove like that and hopefully I can take that into my next start."

The Goldeyes (55-43) and Fargo (63-35) play the second of the three-game set to end the regular season on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. when lefty Todd Privett (5-6, 3.87) will get the start for the Goldeyes and Fargo will counter with left-hander Jake Laber.

Goldeyes manager Rick Forney, who got a Gatorade shower courtesy of centre-fielder Chris Roberson and first baseman Josh Mazzola, said catcher Luis Alen, who has played in all of the Goldeyes' 98 games, will get the day off Sunday.

The final game of the regular season is Monday at 7 p.m. at Shaw Park.

Winnipeg will begin their best-of-five Divisional Series against the RedHawks on Sept. 5 at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo. The series will shift to Shaw Park for Game 3 on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale through Ticketmaster now.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest

History

Updated on Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 11:09 PM CDT: adds playoff schedule

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