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RedHawks knock off Milwaukee, even up American Association championship series

The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks won Game 2 on Sunday to square up the best-of-5 championship series against the Milwaukee Milkmen.

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Fargo-Moorhead third baseman Leo Pina is shown here earlier in the American Association baseball season. Pina had a key two-run triple in the third inning Sunday against the Milwaukee Milkmen.
Hayden Austin/Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
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MILWAUKEE — The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks got timely hitting and clutch relief pitching Sunday afternoon at Franklin Field.

RedHawks reliever Reid Birlingmair had a lockdown performance in the sixth inning and veteran hitters Leo Pina and Manny Boscan added clutch two-run hits that lifted F-M to a 7-3 victory against the Milwaukee Milkmen in the American Association baseball championship series.

“It’s a big win," RedHawks bench coach Anthony Renz said. “You don’t really want to be staring down the barrel of a 2-0 deficit. We’ve played tremendous in Fargo all year, but to get a split here, we kind of did our job here.”

The RedHawks tied the best-of-5 series at 1-1 with the victory. Game 3 is slated for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Newman Outdoor Field. Left-handed rookie Peyton Wigginton is scheduled to start Game 3. The remainder of the series is set for Newman Outdoor Field.

“I’m proud of the guys, they deserve this and with a shot to win it in Fargo they deserve that even more," Renz said.

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The RedHawks took a lead for good in the third inning Sunday after Pina belted a two-run triple to right-center field that gave F-M a 2-0 lead. Christian Correa and Drew Ward — who reached on a double — scored on Pina's deep drive.

“I thought it was important for us to kind of throw the first punch today," Renz said. "A big swing from Leo.”

John Silviano followed Pina with an RBI groundout to give the RedHawks a 3-0 lead.

The Milkmen countered in the home half of the third. Center field Bryan Torres sparked the rally with an RBI triple. Logan Trowbridge added an RBI single that scored Torres to cut the F-M lead to 3-2.

RedHawks left fielder Alec Olund answered with an RBI single that gave F-M a 4-2 lead in the sixth inning, scoring Ward from third base. Ward reached earlier in the frame on a double.

The Milkmen threatened in the sixth inning with runners on first and second base with no outs. However, Birlingmair came on in relief of starter Davis Feldman and struck out the next three batters. That preserved F-M's two-run lead through six innings.

“Basically game on the line and to get three swings and misses (strikeouts), just tremendous," Renz said of Birlingmair.

Feldman pitched five-plus innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits. The right-hander struck out three batters and walked two. He walked the first two batters in the sixth inning before giving way to Birlingmair.

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“Feldman was unbelievable," Renz said.

Boscan laced a two-out, two-run double down the left-field line for a 6-2 lead in the seventh inning. Boscan delivered after Milwaukee pitchers walked the bases loaded. RedHawks catcher Christian Correa added an RBI single in the eighth inning for a 7-2 lead.

Milkmen designated hitter Keon Barnum belted a solo home run over the wall in left field cut the F-M lead to 7-3.

Pina went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and also scored two runs. Ward was 2-for-4 and scored two runs. Boscan was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

“This goes with how we’ve been all year long." Renz said. "Any time we’ve really faced adversity, we find a way. Championship caliber teams do that. We found a way to bounce back quickly. You’ve got to have a short memory in the playoffs.”

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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