Many were expecting a playoff atmosphere as the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks came to visit the St. Paul Saints, trailing by two games in the North Division. However, a five run fourth and four home runs in the game made this a blowout as the Saints went on to win, 10-1. Jake Matthys pitched his best game of the year, allowing a lone unearned run in 6.1-innings and Brady Shoemaker was a perfect 3-3 with a homer.
The St. Paul Saints would jump out in front in the bottom of the first. With one down, Kyle Barrett walked before Burt Reynolds was hit by a pitch. Brady Shoemaker was then hit by a pitch and Barrett scored on a single by Dante Bichette, Jr. That made it 1-0.
In the third, St. Paul extended their lead. Reynolds and Shoemaker led off with back-to-back singles and Reynolds scored on a single by Zach Walters to extend the lead to two.
The fourth proved to be a wild affair. In the top half of the inning, Leobaldo Pina came to the plate with two down. He did not get into the box quick enough for the umpire’s liking and was given a strike. After striking out, Pina was irate. He would eventually get tossed from the game.
The Saints would then take a commanding lead. Justin O’Conner led off the inning with his 12th homer of the year. Joey Wong then lined a ball down into right field. He looked to stretch it into a double, but the throw was ahead of his slide. However, Wong slid to the inside of the bag, avoiding the tag and looked to be called correctly as safe. Max Murphy followed with a towering drive over the left field wall to make it a 5-0 game. Michael Tamburino retired the next two hitters, but Shoemaker kept the inning alive with a double and scored on a single by Walters. Walters would come home on a base hit by Nathaniel Maggio to make it 7-0.
Jake Matthys rebounded from three tough outings, dominating the RedHawks through the first five innings. The righty allowed three-hits and only walked one through the first five frames.
An error would ruin his shutout streak in the sixth. Quinn Irey began the inning grounding a ball to Bichette, but was his throw to first was wide of the bag. Tim Colwell drew a walk before Brennan Metzger hit into a fielder’s choice that put runners at first and third. A sacrifice fly by Devan Ahart plated Irey to cut the deficit to six.
Jake Matthys (7-7) went 6.1-innings, allowing 4-hits and one unearned run. He walked two and struck out 6. Mike Devine came on and tossed 1.2 perfect innings of relief.
In the eighth, the St. Paul lineup would add a little more breathing room. With one down, Burt Reynolds connected on his 18th homer of the season. Brady Shoemaker followed with his 11th homer, giving the Saints back-to-back homers. Two batters later, Bichette doubled and would later score on a wild pitch to make it 10-1. That would be the final.
Brady Shoemaker finished 3-3 with 2-runs and an RBI. Dante Bichette also had 3-hits, scored a run and drove in one. Every player in the Saints order had at least one hit. The team finished with four homers after hitting four the night before.
These two teams will square off again tomorrow. Brandon Barker (2-4, 4.32) will face Chris Nunn (5-2, 2.83). First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier