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Baseball: Two wins - but a big loss

Red Wing's Michael Bigelbach (left) avoids a tag from Farmginton's Jared Lipinski during Friday's season-opening doubleheader in Rochester. Bigelbach was out on the play. Photo by Chris Harrell1 / 3
Red Wing senior Andy Kalb swings at a pitch during the first game of Friday's doubleheader against Farmington in Rochester. Photo by Chris Harrell2 / 3
Red Wing's Ryan Boldt races to third base during the third inning of Game 1 during Friday's doubleheader against Farmington in Rochester. Photo by Chris Harrell3 / 3

ROCHESTER - Red Wing captured two wins Friday night in Rochester, but not without suffering a major loss.

Red Wing senior Ryan Boldt, a top national prospect, took his first two steps toward a fly ball in the third inning of Game 2 and fell to the ground, clutching his right knee. He laid on the ground for a few minutes before being helped off the field and didn't return to the game, as fans and more than a dozen scouts watched intently.

Boldt said he tweaked the knee in Game 1 while sliding into third base and had to pop something into place on the outside of his right knee.

"It felt weird but it didn't hurt that much," Boldt said of the first incident. "It felt a little loose. Then, I did it again in the outfield, I took a step and it went out again.

"It didn't hurt a lot but I didn't think I could walk."

Boldt said he anticipates going in for tests on Monday, finishing the day 1-for-5 with a stolen base and a run scored.

Red Wing was visibly affected by the incident and Lugowski scored on an error by Ty Buck. In the face of adversity, the Wingers recovered to sweep Farmington, taking Game 1 14-6 and winning 7-2 in the second game at Dale Massey Field.

"Everybody was pretty much out of air there for an inning," Red Wing co-head coach Jim Bohmbach said. "Suddenly the game wasn't as important as Ryan's health. It was a scary moment but I think the guys understand that life has to go on and they've got to pick it up and people have to play a little bit harder if he's not in the lineup."

Red Wing senior Matt Zorn entered game one as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning and was outstanding Friday. He went 5-for-6 with two doubles and four RBI in the two games.

"What a great first varsity game," Bohmbach said. "Matt has now earned himself some playing time."

Michael Bigelbach was just as solid for the Wingers as he finished the day 5-for-7 with a double and three RBI.

The Tigers were led by Spencer Merle, who went 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and a stolen base in the opener and was 1-for-3 with an RBI and two stolen bases in Game 2.

Trey Eckstrom had a solid first inning on the mound for the Wingers but lost control of the strike zone in the second inning, walking three batters and giving up two runs on just one base hit.

"They played better than us right at the beginning," Bohmbach said. "They were making plays and we weren't and our intensity wasn't there."

Red Wing got its first run when Andy Kalb led off the third inning with a double and crossed the plate on another double by Bigelbach. Kalb was 2-for-3 with three RBI in the first game while hitting ninth in the batting order.

Farmington responded with a run as Merle started the inning with a double, stole third and scored on a wild pitch to take a 3-1 lead.

The Wingers cut it to 3-2 in the fourth inning and the Tigers added three more runs in the fifth inning for a 6-2 lead.

As they did all last season, Red Wing used the final two innings to open the floodgates, scoring four runs in the sixth inning to tie the game and tallying eight runs in the seventh inning. Zach Lang was 2-for-5 with a double, triple and three RBI in the game.

The start of Game 2 was shaky for the Wingers as Johnny Dittman led off with a double and gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead on a single by Merle. A hit-by-pitch put runners on the corners with two outs but Bigelbach got out of the jam with a fly ball to Boldt.

The Wingers scored a run in the second inning and added four more runs in the third inning to take a 5-2 lead after Boldt's injury. Preston Blaney scored a run in the fifth inning for Red Wing and Bigelbach crossed the plate in the sixth for the 7-2 victory.

Next up, the eighth-ranked (3A) Wingers will host a doubleheader against Holy Angels Tuesday at the Red Wing Athletic Field.

Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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