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Bruins stay atop EDC

While wind gusts of more than 30 mph forced Fargo South starter Max Rusch to pitch solely from the stretch, it didn't stop him from doing his job. Rusch pitched a complete game and also drove in two runs Friday at Tharaldson Baseball Park. His pe...

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While wind gusts of more than 30 mph forced Fargo South starter Max Rusch to pitch solely from the stretch, it didn't stop him from doing his job.

Rusch pitched a complete game and also drove in two runs Friday at Tharaldson Baseball Park. His performance sparked South to a 7-5 victory against Fargo Shanley in the first game of an Eastern Dakota Conference baseball doubleheader.

"That was probably the worst I've seen him throw, and he still got the win," South coach Donn Bryant said. "We're all about the 'W.' "

Shanley rebounded for a 6-1 victory in the second game. Andy Schweigert and Ethan Mathern each hit home runs for the Deacons in the second game.

"To have success against their pitching and have a win like this is a huge confidence boost," Shanley coach Joel Swanson said of beating South in Game 2.

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South (9-2, 8-2 EDC) stayed in first place in the conference. Shanley (11-7, 9-5) snapped the Bruins' nine-game winning streak.

In Game 1, Rusch held Shanley scoreless through five innings. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out nine, scattering nine hits.

Rusch said he didn't pitch from the full windup because heavy winds made it hard for him to stay on balance.

"It's just important to try to get separation between the rest of the conference," Rusch said.

The Bruins scored six runs through the first three innings in Game 1. Rusch sparked the early offense, cracking a two-run double to the fence in right-center field.

"It just takes a lot of the pressure off," Rusch said of the early runs. "I can just go out there and pitch my game and take chances."

Shanley rallied late, scoring all five their runs in the final two innings. The Deacons had five of their nine hits in the final two innings.

"Rusch did a nice job of keeping us off balance early," Swanson said. "The way we've been hitting all year, we showed up in the sixth and seventh inning. We just ran out of innings."

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In Game 2, Shanley got the early offense. Schweigert cracked a two-run home run in the third inning as the Deacons never trailed. Shanley senior pitcher Lucas Fritz scattered six hits to get the complete-game victory.

"He is a big arm for us," Swanson said of Fritz, who is coming off Tommy John surgery.

South 222 000 1- 7 8 0

Shanley 000 002 3- 5 9 1

Rusch and Beneke. Kays and Schweigert. W-Rusch (3-0). L-Kays (1-2).

Shanley 002 202 0- 6 10 0

South 000 001 0- 1 6 4

Fritz and Schweigert. Erickson, Ernst (6), Noriega (7) and Wolf. W-Fritz (2-0). L-Erickson. HR-Shanley, Schweigert (1), Mathern (1).

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson's prep sports blog can be found at www.areavoices.com

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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