After a mid-game offensive burst vaulted the Goldeyes to victory over the visiting Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks Monday night, the Fish found themselves on the other side of the hurtin' in their second pre-season game. The tilt was scoreless through five innings, with the teams trading single scores in the sixth. But after a sloppy top of the seventh with rookie Reggie Hochstedler on the mound, the Goldeyes fell behind 5-1.
Goldeyes batters did their best to get the momentum back, chipping away at the lead with a run in the seventh. In the eighth, against RedHawks pitcher Mackenzie King (really), the Goldeyes got three hits to put feet on bases and scored a run. They might have had a chance to get within one, but with Goldeyes hanging on second and third base, Ryan Scoma struck out to close the inning.
With three quick outs in the ninth, so flew the last chance to save the game.
RedHawks infielder Keith Brachold was a beast in his three turns at the plate. He netted a single and a pair of doubles and two RBI.
Incoming southpaw pitcher Pete Gehle held the Goldeyes firm through 2 2/3 innings, striking out five RedHawks over that stretch. The third inning was perfect, and with two runners on base in the fourth, Gehle struck out Ronnie Bourquin to keep the game scoreless.
Brachold's big double at the top of the seventh sealed the win for his team. It might have been within reach for the Fish until then, with the RedHawks up just 3-1. But with two Fargo players lurking on base, Brachold blasted the ball to the outfield. The double drove the other two runners home, lifting the Redhawks over the Fish 5-1.
Although the result didn't start with a "W," manager Rick Forney said he was much more pleased with Tuesday's game, including the defensive and pitching game -- for the most part. "The game today was much better," he said. "They just pushed a few more runs across... they were able to take advantage of our rookie pitcher (Hochstedler) making his pro debut. I'm sure his knees were knocking together. And it showed, he was nervous."
No worries -- at least, not about Tuesday night. Now that the first exhibition games are out of the way and players are starting to settle in, Forney said he'll start evaluating pitchers more closely. "Now they need to get out there and show me that they have a little more feel for the craft of pitching," he said.
ON THE HOOK
The Goldeyes will host the last pre-season game at Shaw Park on Friday at 6 p.m. against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, before hitting the road for a long swing to end training camp.