Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Hey, you da man, Mazzola
Clouts 2 dingers, Fish lead series 2-0
FARGO, N.D. -- It looked like a home run derby Thursday as the Winnipeg Goldeyes downed the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 5-3 on a night when all the runs scored were driven in by home runs.
Winnipeg's stars were first baseman Josh Mazzola, who hit two-run home runs in the seventh and eighth innings and second baseman Yurendell de Caster, who hit a solo dinger in the eighth, as the Goldeyes took a 2-0 lead in the American Association's best-of-five semifinal series at Newman Outdoor Field before a crowd of 1,944.
Fargo catcher Ryan Delgado started off the dinger derby with his three-run shot in the sixth to open the scoring.
Winnipeg lefty Chris Salamida pitched six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out six. Zach Baldwin took over to pick up the win and Brian Beuning went 1 2/3 innings to pick up the save.
"We're looking for any way to win the game scoring runs any way we can. When we have our starting pitchers go out and throw like Salamida and Ace did, we'll be pretty well off in this series and going on to the next series," said Mazzola who has hit two home runs in regular-season play three times.
Mazzola and de Caster's home runs in the eighth came off AA reliever-of-the-year Tom Boleska, who had allowed just one home run in 46 innings in the regular season.
The series returns to Winnipeg's Shaw Park today for the third game at 7 p.m. when two righties are expected to start -- Winnipeg's Matt Rusch (10-4, 2.40 ERA) and Fargo's Paul Burnside (9-6, 3.20).
The Goldeyes won the first game 4-2 after starter Ace Walker held Fargo to five hits, third baseman Amos Ramon went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a two-run home run and Beuning pitched a three-inning save.
"We're not out of it, there's still another game to be won by them and three by us. We've got to go up there and get ourselves in a comfortable situation and start swinging the bat and scoring some runs," said RedHawks manager Doug Simunic.
Goldeyes manager Rick Forney, referring to the fact his team finished 10 games back of the RedHawks in the regular season, said his team played "two of the best games we've played all year."
"We're in a lot better position than a lot of people thought we'd be heading back home," Forney said. "It's been a while since we hit multiple home runs in a game and had big hits like that to produce some important runs. We're playing complete baseball right now. Pitching's been good, defence has been steady and we just seem to have the right person coming up at the right time and delivering for us. They're leaving it out on the field and it's fun to watch them right now."
Thursday's game was scoreless through the top of the fifth with each side having few chances to score.
The two sides broke open the home runs after that. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Fargo catcher Ryan Delgado got hold of an inside pitch by Salamida that he crushed over the left-field wall for a three-run home run. He scored centre-fielder Nic Jackson, who got aboard on a lead-off double and third baseman Eric Campbell, who singled.
In the top of the seventh, Winnipeg designated hitter Barbaro Canizares hit a lead-off double and Mazzola hit a two-run shot. It brought Winnipeg within one run at 3-2.
In the top of eighth with two out, de Caster tied the game with his solo homer. Canizares, the next batter, got aboard with a single and then Mazzola drove him in with his second dinger of the night.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2012 C1
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