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T-Bones drop series opener at Fargo-Moorhead

07/08/2012 3:48 AM -

By Brian Bruce

FARGO, N.D.-  Fargo native Jake Laber pitched 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball as the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks moved into a virtual deadlock with Kansas City for the Wildcard lead with a 6-2 victory on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 4,893 at Newman Outdoor Field.

Laber faced just one above the minimum through three innings, allowing only an Enrique Cruz single in the second and a Bubby Williams two-out single in the third.

Fargo-Moorhead jumped out of the offensive gates early, as lefty slugger Nic Jackson drove a changeup from T-Bones starter Brian Grening (5-3) with two outs in the first out of the ballpark to right field for his fifth round-tripper of the season, making it 1-0.

The RedHawks tacked on two runs on three hits and two T-Bones errors in the fourth, including an RBI single by Ryan Delgado. Another run scored on the play on a throwing error, extending the RedHawks lead to 3-0.

After another homer by Jackson in the seventh, his second of the contest and sixth of the year, the T-Bones mounted a late charge in the ninth. With one out and nobody on base, Kansas City strung together a walk and three consecutive hits, and cut the lead to 6-2. The surge was highlighted by a two-run double off the bat of Williams, the Blue Springs, Mo. Native, who finished three for four with a double, two singles, two RBIs and a stolen base.

In the loss, Grening allowed six runs on eleven hits over 7 innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out six RedHawks. Laber allowed only six hits while walking two and striking out five. He improved to 2-4 and saw his ERA drop from 5.89 to 5.17.

Kansas City (27-22) will send right-hander Shaun Garceau (5-0; 1.64 ERA) to the mound for game two of the four-game set on Sunday afternoon. Fargo-Moorhead is scheduled to start right-hander Alex Caldera (6-1; 2.89). The matinee begins at 1:00 and can be heard on the KMBZ Business Channel (1660 AM) or online at www.tbonesbaseball.com.