@ Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks 5/25/12
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Guerrero, arms lift Pheasants past Fargo-Moorhead
FARGO, N.D. – Cristian Guerrero’s two-run home run broke a 2-2 tie in the 11th inning on Friday night, powering the Sioux Falls Pheasants to a 4-2 win over the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks at Newman Outdoor Field.
Guerrero began the game with just one hit in six games, but he found his power stroke at a crucial time and belted a Tyler Herron (0-1) breaking ball over the left field wall to spoil the Redhawks’ home opener.
“I was just looking for a base hit because I’m struggling a little bit at the plate,” said Guerrero, who has 152 career home runs. “But today I had a couple of good at-bats and the home run happened.”
The two clubs were locked in a pitcher’s duel through the first eight innings. The Pheasants relied on a brilliant start from Alan DeRatt, who tossed six shutout innings and allowed just three hits. Only one runner reached second base.
Jonny Kaplan led off the game with a double and scored on a throwing error to give the Pheasants a quick 1-0 lead. Fargo-Moorhead could muster nothing until Enrique Cruz’ lofted a blooper just out the reach of second baseman Joe Anthonsen and brought home two runs.
The Pheasants tied the game on their last strike – literally. With two out and Kaplan at third in the top of the ninth, Cesar Nicolas reached on a third strike that squirted away from the catcher. A throw to first was too late, and Kaplan scored.
In the bottom of the 10th, Fargo-Moorhead loaded the bases on an infield single, intentional walk and hit batter, but reliever Kyle Mertins (1-0) struck out Cruz and induced a flyout from Marcos Rodriguez to end the inning. Mertins pitched a perfect 11th with two more strikeouts to earn his first victory in relief. Mertins has not allowed an earned run in 7 2/3 innings of relief.
“We had some really good pitching performances,” Pheasants manager Steve Shirley said. “And then for Cristian to hit the winning home run with the type of year he was having until now was gigantic....It was a big win for us.”
The Pheasants had chances throughout the night but stranded 15 base runners. Al Quintana had three singles but was left in scoring position each time. Mark Shorey had a four-hit performance, the third of his career.
Game two of the three-game series is at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 26. The game will be broadcast on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 1230-AM KWSN.