After stepping on the gas to qualify for the American Association playoffs on Saturday night -- after losing three straight games and some sleep worrying it was slipping away -- the Winnipeg Goldeyes found the tank was a little empty on Sunday.
The Goldeyes (55-44) were shellacked 15-1 by the North division Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (64-35) in front of 5,588 fans at Shaw Park.
Fargo scored 15 runs on 17 hits with nine of the 10 position players who appeared in the game getting a hit.
Getting the win was rookie left-handed pitcher Ethan Opsahl who got a win in his first RedHawks start. The 22-year-old, who is right out of Dakota Wesleyan University in South Dakota, did a yeoman’s job allowing just one run on eight hits in 7.1 innings of work.
The two teams will meet again Monday at 7 p.m. to play their 100th games and complete the regular-season schedule. Winnipeg and Fargo are also first-round playoff opponents and will meet in the first two games of the AA’s best-of-five semifinal series on Wednesday and Thursday in Fargo. Games 3-5 will be played in Winnipeg at Shaw Park on Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.
After Sunday's game, Goldeyes' manager Rick Forney did not make himself available for comment.
Outfielder Mike Coles, whose sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning scored Josh Mazzola for Winnipeg’s only run, couldn’t offer an explanation for why the Winnipeg club came out flat after earning the wild-card playoff berth Saturday.
"It’s baseball, it happens. It’s one of those days. You can’t take anything away from Fargo, they hit the ball good. We missed a lot of pitches. It’s nothing to worry about, nothing to panic about," said Coles, who has won four independent baseball championships. He played for Fargo in 2009-2011.
"We know what we’re in for (against Fargo) and they know what they’re in for. The best thing we can do is get back to where you need to be to have good at-bats. Get ourselves a bit of a rhythm going heading into Wednesday."
Fargo's Zach Penprase, the league’s all-star shortstop, had three hits, two RBI and four runs scored while RedHawks rookie left-fielder Buddy Sosnoskie had two hits, two RBI and scored a pair of runs.
Veteran third baseman Eric Campbell had three hits, including a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning when Fargo scored four runs for a 4-0 lead and began to run away with the game.
RedHawks catcher Ryan Delgado, the AA’s all-star designated hitter, also hit a home run as part of a four-run ninth inning as RedHawks continued the beatdown.
Just five Winnipeg players got hits. Three came from designated hitter Barbaro Canizares with two from first baseman Yurendell de Caster and one each from Mazzola, catcher Kyle Day and second baseman Jose Duran.
The most exciting Goldeyes’ play of the day was in the top of the eighth when pitcher Kaohi Downing, who had been brought into the game when Amos Ramon left with an apparent hamstring injury, made a diving catch in right field to end the inning.