Solomon spins gem, helps RedHawks keep 'tall task' playoff hopes alive
FARGO—The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks were starved for a win Sunday night and starting pitcher Will Solomon provided the sustenance.
Solomon pitched seven stellar innings to lead the RedHawks to a 3-1 victory against the Chicago Dogs in American Association baseball at Newman Outdoor Field before 3,059 fans.
The RedHawks (49-43) are four games behind Gary SouthShore (53-39) for the second and final playoff spot in the North Division with eight games remaining in the regular season.
"We're not over until there's an 'X' by our name (in the standings), so every game counts," said RedHawks manager Michael Schlact. "It's a tough task, it's a tall task, but these guys have no quit."
The RedHawks are coming off a four-game series at Gary SouthShore that ended Saturday night. The Railcats won three games in the critical series. Gary has a 10-3 record against the RedHawks this season.
That made Solomon's performance that much more important.
"Solomon was in command from the get-go," Schlact said. "We needed a guy to set the tone. We had a couple of tough losses in Gary."
Solomon (10-7) allowed one earned run on six hits, holding the Dogs scoreless through the first six innings. The left-hander struck out seven batters with two walks to lower his ERA to 4.18 this season.
"We've got to win every game from here and out," Solomon said. "We're not going to give up. We're still in this thing. We know we are."
The RedHawks scored a run in their first at-bat against the Dogs. Tim Colwell led off the bottom of the first inning with a single into right field and he later scored on a Leo Pina sacrifice fly that gave F-M a 1-0 lead.
Devan Ahart added a ringing RBI double to right-center field in the third inning that scored Brennan Metzger and gave the RedHawks a 2-0 lead.
The RedHawks built a 3-0 lead after an Ahart sacrifice fly scored Derrick Fox in the fifth inning.
"It wasn't like we got a ton of hits, but we made them count," said Schlact, whose team had eight hits off Chicago starter Josh Goossen-Brown. "I was especially proud of the guys executing in big spots."
The Dogs scored their lone run in the seventh inning. A Kenny Wilson RBI single sliced the RedHawks lead to 3-1. Solomon finished out the seventh before F-M turned to its bullpen. Solomon threw 122 pitches, including 79 strikes.
"For Solomon to do what he did, to have complete control of the strike zone, to be changing speeds, to really have the best changeup of the year for him ... was good," Schlact said.
Colwell and Metzter each had two hits for F-M. Ahart went 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
The RedHawks host Chicago at 7:02 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, in the second game of a three-game series.
"All we can do is continue to win games," Schlact said.