Murphy Walk-Off Double Sends Saints Home Winners
SIOUX FALLS, SD (July 24, 2020) – The St. Paul Saints were the home team, but very few in the crowd wanted to see a walk-off win. Trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth the Saints scored two, including the walk-off on Max Murphy’s RBI double, in a 3-2 win over the Sioux Falls Canaries at Sioux Falls Stadium on Friday night.
The Saints were 0-9 when trailing after seven innings and had lost all 10 games when trailing going into the ninth. With the Saints down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth Nicco Blank came on to close out the game for the Canaries because their regular closer, Keaton Steele, had pitched each of the last three days. Blank started off the ninth by hitting Nate Samson in the helmet. Chesny Young then hit a ground ball to the shortstop Andrew Ely, but he had the ball go off his glove and between his legs for an error. Blank then hit Chris Chinea to load the bases. Josh Allen tied the game with a sacrifice line out to left as Samson scored easily. Murphy then roped a line drive double over the head of Ryan Brett in left as Young scored from second to cap off the comeback walk-off win.
Much like Thursday night it was a pitcher’s duel all night long as the Saints Ryan Zimmerman and the Canaries Jake Zokan matched each other zero for zero. The Saints had a great opportunity to score in the first when Alonzo Harris led off the game with a double to left. Samson followed with a walk to put runners at first and second. Young singled to center and Harris tried to score from second, but KC Huth made a perfect throw to the plate cutting down the run. With runners at the corners and one out, Chinea hit a fly ball to the right field corner that was caught by Logan Landon. Samson tagged from third and Young tagged from first. Landon’s throw to second was in time to get Young, but more importantly the out was recorded before Samson could score.
Zimmerman was magnificent and got three double plays to help himself out. In the second he gave up a one out single to Landon but got a double play off the bat of Ryan Long. In the third, Grant Kay led off with a single, but Brett followed by grounding into a double play. In the sixth, Zimmerman hit the leadoff batter, but got Huth to ground into a double play.
The Canaries finally got to Zimmerman in the seventh when he walked the leadoff batter Jabari Henry. Alay Lago doubled to the gap in right-center scoring Henry to make it 1-0 as Lago took third on a throwing error by Murphy in right. Landon made it 2-0 with an RBI single to left. Zimmerman went 8.0+ innings allowing two runs on five hits while walking two and striking out five.
The Saints finally got on the board against Zokan, who had retired 12 in a row entering the eighth. Murphy led off with a sinking fly ball to center that Huth dove for, but came up empty and as the ball rolled by him Murphy raced around to third. John Silviano’s RBI groundout to first made it 2-1. Zokan went 8.0 innings allowing one run on five hits while walking one and striking out six.
The same two teams meet in the second game of the three-game series at Sioux Falls Stadium at 6:05 p.m. with the Saints as the home team. The Saints send RHP Matt Quintana (1-2, 6.75) to the mound against Canaries RHP Sam Bragg (1-1, 6.23). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM and seen at aabaseball.tv.
By Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints