By Ashley Prest
Winnipeg Goldeyes right-fielder Josh Mazzola hit a pair of home runs and centre-fielder Chris Roberson hit a solo shot to lift the Goldeyes (39-28) to a 7-3 win over the Sioux Falls Fighting Pheasants (30-37) before a crowd of 5,543 at Shaw Park on Sunday afternoon.
Mazzola belted a two-out, three-run bomb in the first inning and a two-run shot in the fifth while Roberson's home run came in the fourth inning. Roberson and Mazzola are tied for the team lead with 10 home runs each. Starting pitcher Todd Privett (5-4), who got the win for Winnipeg, worked 6.2 innings allowing three runs on seven hits and struck out five batters. He was relieved by Brian Beuning who tossed the remaining 2.1 innings and allowed one hit, a walk and struck out two.
The Goldeyes, who trail the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (44-23) by five games for the North division lead, now embark on a six–game road trip which begins Tuesday in Kansas City against the T-Bones.
"Days you hit the ball well is always a good day and it was a plus I was able to drive in some runs," said Mazzola, who also hit a double and had five RBI. "Going on the road tomorrow, it definitely builds momentum. It's big for us going on the road taking this series and that momentum. One big word I heard today was ‘compete’ and we definitely did that."
Sioux Falls scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning but Winnipeg responded in the bottom of the first with catcher Luis Alen’s RBI single and Mazzola’s three-run dinger.
In the top of the third, the Pheasants scored their third run on an error by Winnipeg shortstop Jose Duran, leaving Winnipeg clinging to a 4-3 lead. Roberson’s homer and Mazzola’s two-run shot gave the Goldeyes the game.
Diamond Dust: The Goldeyes placed left-handed rookie pitcher Rich Hawkins, 22, on irrevocable waivers for the purpose of releasing him. Hawkins had a 3-1 record with a 7.82 ERA in eight starts and was torched by Sioux Falls on Saturday night for eight runs on 10 hits in two innings.