With both Anthony Gallas and Brady Shoemaker out, the St. Paul Saints offense has been struggling lately, but they got a big boost Saturday night as the team tied its high for hits in a game this season with 18 in the 12-2 victory. It was a huge night for the offense that saw the team tie a high for runs in inning with seven in the fourth. Tony Thomas and Mitch Delfino both had 3-hits and drove in 2, and JJ Gould and Breland Almadova had 3-hits and scored 2-runs in the win.
The St. Paul Saints jumped out to a four-run lead in the bottom of the second. Will Solomon struck out the first two batters of the inning, but the Saints put up a huge two-out rally. Breland Almadova singled before Tim Colwell walked. JJ Gould then drew a walk to load the bases and Nate Hanson followed with a single that scored Almadova and Colwell to make it 2-0. Next up was Tony Thomas, who doubled into left-center to score both runners to extend the lead to four.
In the fourth, the St. Paul Saints sent 11 men to the plate and tied a season high with 7-runs in the inning to take a commanding lead. Back-to-back singles by Colwell and Gould started the inning before Hanson walked to load the bases with no one out. Solomon retired the next two batters on lineouts and it looked like he was going to escape the inning unscathed. However, Mitch Delfino lined a base hit up the middle that brought home two-runs and that was it for Solomon.
Anthony Pacillo came on but he could not stop the rally. Ben Buerkle ripped a base hit into left that scored Hanson. An error by the catcher allowed Delfino to score and Buerkle to move into second to make it 8-0. Troy Lubach drew a walk to keep the inning alive and Almadova followed with a single that scored Buerkle to extend the lead to nine. Colwell then lined a ball down the line in right that just stayed fair. He legged it out for a triple, scoring both runners to make it 11-0.
Benji Waite had been in complete command through the first four innings. The right-hander allowed just one-hit during that span, but in the fifth, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks would get on the board. Brandon Tierney walked to start the inning and moved to second on a base hit by Yhoxian Medina. Waite retired the next two batters, but a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Chris Grayson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Waite then threw his second wild pitch of the frame to score Tierney before Mazzola walked to reload the bases. Trever Adams followed with a base hit that scored Medina and Grayson attempted to come home as well, but a perfect throw from Colwell nailed him at the plate to end the threat.
The Saints got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Thomas singled with one down and easily came around to score when Kes Carter hit a ball to right field that just barely missed being a home run. Carter reached second on the double as Thomas scored to make it 12-2.
Benji Waite (4-3) came out after 5-innings. He allowed 3-hits, 5-walks, and 2-runs, while striking out 3. Jeff Malm pitched the final four-innings, allowing just 2-hits for his first save of the year.
It was a huge night for the St. Paul Saints offense as four players each had 3-hits in the game, including Tony Thomas, Breland Almadova, Mitch Delfino, and JJ Gould. Delfino and Thomas each drove in 2 and Almadova and Gould scored 2-runs apiece, as did Nate Hanson and Tim Colwell.
These two teams conclude their four-game series tomorrow. The Saints will send Mark Hamburger to the hill looking to win his American Association leading 12th game of the year. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05.
By Robert Pannier