Max Murphy, Saints Batter Canaries, 20-11
SIOUX FALLS, SD (June 17, 2019) – It was a battle of two first place teams on Monday night at Sioux Falls Stadium. It turned into a night that would have made Mark Scott smile. The two teams combined to hit 10 home runs, the Saints set a franchise record with 20 RBI, tied a franchise record with six home runs, Max Murphy set a career high with seven RBI, and the Saints drew first blood winning a slugfest 20-11. The win improved the Saints to 20-9 on the season.
For the third time this season Max Murphy led off a game with a home run, as he took the first pitch of the game and launched it over the left field wall, his first of the night and seventh of the season, making it 1-0. That was a sign of things to come. Dan Motl followed with a single. He then tried to steal second, but pitcher Spencer Herrmann threw over to first. Kevin Taylor’s throw to second glanced off Motl’s helmet and went into left field allowing Motl to take third. Blake Schmit came through with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
In the second, the Saints added four more runs as Chesny Young reached on an infield single to short. After a sacrifice moved him to second, Murphy picked up his second RBI with a single to left making it 3-0. After a walk to Motl, Schmit drilled a three-run opposite field homer to right, his first of the season, giving the Saints a 6-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, however, the Canaries loaded the bases for Mike Hart who crushed a grand slam to right, his first of the night and fourth of the season, cutting the Saints lead to 6-4.
The Saints responded with a grand slam of their own as they loaded the bases on three walks. With one out Murphy came calling again with a grand slam to left, his second of the game and eighth of the season, making it 10-4 Saints. With two outs Schmit reached on an infield single to third and then scored on Brady Shoemaker’s double giving the Saints an 11-4 lead.
In the bottom of the inning Alay Lago hit a solo homer, his fourth of the season, to make it 11-5.
The Saints continued their onslaught by adding two more in the fourth. With one out Josh Allen singled and Chesny Young singled him to third. Joey Wong walked to load the bases. Murphy’s sacrifice fly made it 12-5. An RBI single by Motl gave the Saints a 13-5 lead.
The game settled down for the next couple of innings until the Saints scored in the seventh. Devon Rodriguez, who entered the game in the bottom of the third for an injured Schmit, singled to center. With two outs Jeremy Martinez drilled a two-run homer to right, his third of the season, giving the Saints a 15-5 lead. The very next hitter, Allen, hit a solo homer to right, his fifth of the season, making it 16-5.
With the score 16-6 in the top of the eighth Murphy led off with a double. He finished the night 4-7 with a double, a career tying high two home runs, a career high seven RBI, and a career high four runs scored. Motl then hit his first home run of the year, a two-run shot just inside the right field pole to make it 18-6.
The Canaries scored five in the bottom of the inning, scoring four of the five on two, two-run homers from Hart, his second of the night and fifth of the season, and Taylor, his third of the season.
The Saints added two more in the ninth on an RBI single by Motl and a bases loaded walk to Rodriguez. Motl finished the night 4-6 with a home run, career tying high four RBI, and a career tying high three runs scored.
The 21 hits collected by the Saints were their most since they had 21 on August 28, 2012 at Gary and it was only the second time in franchise history they scored 20 or more runs. The only other time was also in Sioux Falls, when they scored a franchise high 22 on July 26, 1996 in a 22-6 win over the Canaries.
The same two teams meet in game two of the four game series on Tuesday night at Sioux Falls Stadium. The Saints send RHP Eddie Medina (4-0, 1.39) to the mound against Canaries RHP Alex Boshers (4-1, 5.28). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson