Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fish wrap sixth sweep

Pheasants fall, Forney hopes to finish with string of wins

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Watching his team embark Wednesday on the final quarter of the 2012 American Association baseball season, Winnipeg Goldeyes skipper Rick Forney wouldn't mind a bit of déj vu.

Approaching the end of the first quarter of the season back in May and June, the Winnipeg Goldeyes were on a season-high six-game winning streak with an 18-6 record.

The Goldeyes (45-31) took a step in that direction with a 3-2 win over the Sioux Falls Pheasants on Wednesday night before 4,532 at Shaw Park as third baseman Amos Ramon drove in Mike Coles for the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Goldeyes are on a three-game winning streak and recorded their sixth sweep of the season. Last year's club, which won a franchise-record 60 games, had five sweeps.

"I'm just hoping that our last 25 are as good as our first 25, and if that's the case, we should be in pretty good shape," said Forney of his team. "Anyone who's seen us play, they know what's at stake. They play with a sense of urgency. They know what's on the line here."

Goldeyes starting pitcher Todd Privett pitched 8 1/3 innings for no decision, with the win going to reliever Chris Allen.

The Goldeyes will now host the Wichita Wingnuts for a three-game set at Shaw Park ,with games at 7 p.m. today and Friday and a 6 p.m. start Saturday.

"They all want to win. They care a lot about what happens out there every day. On the road, when we were losing games in Sioux City, you could have heard a pin drop in that clubhouse," Forney said, referring to the team's 1-2 record against the Explorers on Aug. 4-5.

The Winnipeg club is now four games back of the North Division-leading Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, who lost Wednesday, and Winnipeg has a four-game lead over both the Kansas City T-Bones and the St. Paul Saints for the league's wild-card playoff berth.

Runs were tough to come by on both sides Wednesday night. The Goldeyes started things off in the bottom of the third inning when Price Kendall's single drove in Kyle Day, who slid into home plate just beating the throw.

Josh Mazzola hit his 16th home run of the season, tying St. Paul's Ole Sheldon for the league lead, when he crushed a solo shot over the right-field wall in the bottom of the fifth.

The Pheasants rallied to tie the game in the top of the ninth inning. Designated hitter Cesar Nicolas and pinch runner Ridge Carpenter scored on back-to-back singles hit off Goldeyes relief pitchers Griffin Bailey and Chris Allen.

Goldeyes shortstop Jose Duran sat out after injuring his hamstring in Tuesday's 8-2 win over Sioux Falls, so Kendall played shortstop.

DIAMOND DUST: Starting pitcher Matt Rusch said the complete game he tossed for Tuesday's 8-2 win was the fifth of his professional career and the first by a Goldeyes pitcher this season. "It's a good feeling. You think about that game all night. I didn't sleep until about 3 a.m. But you've got to contain the highs and control the lows."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2012 C2

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