The Dogs jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the fifth inning, after Edwin Arroyo’s RBI triple and Keon Barnum’s single, as the Dogs looked to avoid a fourth straight loss.
The RedHawks struggled to get things going early against Chicago starter Wes Torrez.
“He did a good job against us,” RedHawks manager Jim Bennett said. “You know what kind of hitters we have, so he did a great job.”
Once the fifth inning rolled around, the bats started heating up for F-M, as Brennan Metzger went to the plate in front of the 4,446 fans.
With two outs, Metzger laced a double after Chicago center fielder David Olmedo-Barrera missed a diving catch.
On the fourth pitch of the ensuing at-bat, Tim Colwell connected on a ground-rule double that brought home Metzger the first run of the game for the RedHawks.
F-M continued its stellar two-out hitting, when Devan Ahart pounded a two-run home run, his sixth of the season, to bring the home team within a run.
As the eighth inning rolled around, the Dogs still led 4-3. Leo Pina and Brian Olson each started off the inning with a pair of singles.
Pina scored off an error on catcher Daniel Comstock’s bunt attempt. Metzger then came to the plate with runners on second and third and brought in both runs to put F-M up 6-4.
“Yeah I got to two strikes, Wilkins threw the cut and it stayed up high enough for me to get the bat on to it and sent it to left field,” Metzger said.
After adding one more run in the inning, F-M was able to hold off the Dogs, securing the three-game series sweep.
“That was a great eighth inning for us, but again, we have kinda been doing that all year. We never give up, we battle all game long,” Metzger said. “We score runs late in games and its been kind of our thing this year.”
After trailing early, Metzger pointed out the resiliency the team showed.
“There has never been a panic,” he said. “Generally we try not to wait until the eighth or ninth inning, but we have done that quite a bit this year. Definitely good to get this one today.”
With the sweep, the RedHawks grab a five-game lead over fourth-place Chicago (39-30), a team that is battling for a top spot in the North Division.
“They’re a good team, they have been hot lately. We got a heck of a race going on in the North Division,” Metzger said.
Bennett echoed Metzger regarding the magnitude of the series sweep.
“That’s a great win to finish off the series,” Bennett said. “I know I go one game at a time but now that it’s over, what a big series for us.”
Metzger said the team struggled a bit towards the American Association All-Star break, but believes the squad is back on the right track.
“I think we are getting back on that train again,” he said.
Metzger added that the key for the remainder of the season is to stay focused and keep doing what they’ve done all season long.
“Honestly right now, just keep sticking with our process, just having fun and staying loose and not letting the pressure at the end of the season and the race get to us,” Metzger said.
With a record of 44-25, F-M remains in first place in the North Division, holding a half-game lead over the St. Paul Saints (44-26).
However, there is no rest, as the RedHawks will begin another big series against division rival, third-place Winnipeg Goldeyes (39-28) at 7:02 p.m. Friday at Newman Outdoor Field.
“They are a good team. They’ve been good all year,” Metzger said. “Keep sticking to our plan. It’s going to be a fight, it’s going to be a battle so we’ll see what happens.”