The threatened often but couldn’t break through when it counted, dropping their fifth straight game on the road, falling to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, 7-3, in Fargo, ND.
Rockland stranded 12 baserunners against a trio of Fargo-Moorehead pitchers, while the hard-hitting hosts were held to just six hits over the first seven innings but it was enough for the American Association North Division’s first place squad to secure the win.
Fargo-Moorhead posted all the scoring it would need in the early going, plating one in the second inning and three in the third against Boulders starter Jon Velasquez. Rockland would load the bases against RedHawks starter Paul Burnside in both the third and fourth innings as the right-hander walked a total of six batters over the two frames, but the visitors were unable to come up with the key hit.
The host squad utilized a misplayed pop double and an RBI single in the fifth to open the lead to 5-0 against Velasquez, who allowed four earned runs and six hits over seven innings of work. The Boulders got on the board in the seventh against reliever Joe Harris when Ryan Mollica was hit by a pitch leading off and scored on a double by Jon Smith, who was playing his first game after recovering from a broken hand. With two runners on, Kevin Fuqua was brought on for the RedHawks and escaped further trouble that inning to pick up the save, despite yielding a pair of runs in the ninth.
Ryan Delgado added a long two-run homer off Rockland reliever Julio Santana in the eighth to widen the margin. Run-scoring grounders by Gabby Martinez and Mollica after a Keith Brachold double brought the Boulders closer but it was too little, too late. Chris Valencia led the Boulders offense with a pair of hits, while Qualon Millender walked in all four of his plate appearances.
Game two against the RedHawks is tonight with the finale set for Sunday, and the road trip finishes against the St. Paul Saints from Monday through Wednesday, Aug. 20-22. The Boulders will return to Provident Bank Park in Pomoan to take on the New Jersey Jackals in another big series, running Friday, Aug. 24 through Sunday, Aug. 26.