The nippy cold sure didn't feel like baseball weather, but nothing like a little fourth-inning scare to make the blood run hotter.
The Goldeyes looked set to sail through their Friday night exhibition game at Shaw Park against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, until that fourth frame.
That's when the Wesmen -- cheered by a robust group of their own fans -- batted almost their entire lineup en route to burning pitcher Justin Garcia for four runs, a stiff response to the three the Goldeyes posted in the third inning.
Other than that one brisk inning, though, the Wesmen just couldn't get much base action going. Goldeyes pitcher Allen Caldwell shut 'em down in the seventh with two strikeouts. The eighth looked like it might be a rougher ride when Brendan Lafferty walked two Wesmen in a row, but Fish favourite Amos Ramon snuffed the threat with a sparkling infield catch on a David Mabon whack.
The bottom of the eighth sunk the Wesmen's hopes of tying things up, as pitchers Bryan Evans and Daniel Worb walked Goldeyes Luis Alen, Ryan Scoma and Ramon in succession. All Fehlandt Lentini needed to do when he was up was knock a single and drive Alen home, and the game started looking out of reach for the Wesmen, who fell 8-4.
-- Although he admitted feeling a bit chilly in that Canadian wind, Californian outfielder Ryan Scoma was red-hot on offence all night. He went 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk and stole home in the eighth inning for the Goldeyes' final run of the night.
-- Returning veteran Fehlandt Lentini has been solid since pre-season started, and Friday he kept right on chuggin' with two hits in five trips, driving in two runs and scoring a tally of his own.
óó KEY PLAY
In the bottom of the sixth and with the game tied at four -- thanks to a single by Goldeyes catcher Luis Alen that sent Josh Mazzola home -- Scoma stepped up to the plate, readied for the pitch and slammed out a single that allowed infielder Leonard Davis to dash to home, putting the Fish up by one. Alen, though, was later thrown out at third. He was out by several feet, but playfully slid for the base anyway, prompting laughs from the crowd.
óó FISH WRAP
"I'm just happy we pulled it off, they gave us a little scare there," Scoma said after the game -- the last at Shaw Park before the Goldeyes head on a 16-day road swing starting today. "We're just sort of looking forward to getting things started now... everyone's doing a good job of getting their feet under them, seeing pitches, getting their timing down. Everybody's starting to feel good, and hopefully we can carry some momentum onto the road."
óó ON THE HOOK
The Fish head for Fargo today to kick off a 16-day road trip that will carry them into the regular season. They will be back for the Shaw Park home opener on Monday, May 26 against the Laredo Lemurs.