Saints Battle Back to Stay Alive Following Improbably Comeback, 6-4
It looked like the St. Paul Saints season was about to come to an end on Saturday night as they seemed to have no answers for Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks starter Tyler Pike. However, the team would come from four runs down with nine outs left in the game to pull out a dramatic victory, 6-4. A pair of homeruns in the seventh tied the score before the team would win it in the eighth.
Eddie Medina lived dangerously through the first three innings for St. Paul, but figured out how to get himself out of trouble each time. In the first, he gave up a two our hit followed by a walk, but got the very dangerous Correlle Prime to ground out to end the inning. In the third, a one out hit followed by a walk gave the RedHawks a chance to jump on top, but Medina induced a double-play to get out of the frame.
However, in the fourth, the right-hander’s luck began to wear out. Chris Jacobs led off with a deep drive to the deepest part of the park, clearing the wall in dead center field for his second homer of the series.
An inning later, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks would take control of this game, chasing Medina. Brennan Metzger led off with a walk and moved to second when Medina’s pickoff attempt was wild. A wild pitch moved him to third and he scored on a base hit by Devan Ahart. Jacobs walked and that would be it for the Saints starter.
Karch Kowalczyk came on and struck out Prime, but Leobaldo Pina followed with a base hit into left. Blake Schmit charged the ball, throwing a bullet to the plate, but the throw was slightly to the left of the plate, which allowed Ahart to get his hand under the tag for the third run of the game for the RedHawks.
In the seventh, the RedHawks added one more insurance run. Todd Van Steensel relieved for St. Paul and walked Ahart to start the frame. Jacobs followed with a walk bringing Prime to the plate. He singled up the middle to score the speedy Ahart, making it 4-0. A walk to Wilfredo Gimenez loaded the bases with one down before Van Steensel was able to get Carlos Garcia to pop out.
That brought a call to the bullpen. Jordan Jess came on and struck out Joe Becht to keep it a four run game.
Meanwhile, Fargo-Moorhead starter Tyler Pike was in complete control of this contest. He struck out one batter in each of the first five innings. More importantly, the left-hander had a perfect game through six, as the Saints looked clueless against the RedHawks starter.
In the seventh, things changed quickly. With their season just nine outs away from ending, Dan Motl led off with a base hit to left, and Michael Lang followed with a single up the middle to ruin the perfect game. That brought Brady Shoemaker to the plate, who was 0-5 with runners in scoring position during the first two games of the series. Shoemaker took a 1-1 pitch and blasted it over the left field wall for his first homer of the postseason. Pike retired the next two batters, but Josh Allen got ahead 2-0, then tied the score with his second homer of the series, a towering shot over the wall in right. That would send Pike to the showers, but not before the St. Paul Saints suddenly had new life.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Saints improbable comeback continued. Schmit walked to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice. A wild pitch moved him to third before Michael Lang walked. The RedHawks opted to intentionally walk Brady Shoemaker, loading the bases with just one out. John Silviano then hit a fly ball to center that was not too deep. Ahart fired a high arching throw to the plate, but Schmit easily slid in safe, giving St. Paul the lead without a hit in the inning. Jeremy Martinez extended the St. Paul Saints lead to two with a base hit that scored Lang and suddenly it was a 6-4 game.
In the ninth, Tanner Kiest came on for St. Paul looking to close it out. He walked Jacobs to start the frame and the Saints got a big break when Prime lined a ball toward first. Because first baseman John Silviano was not holding on Jacobs, he was able to take away what could have been a double. Kiest then struck out Leobaldo Pina before getting Wilfredo Gimenez to ground out to end the inning.
For the Saints, the heart of their order came up huge, as the three through six hitters drove in all six runs. Shoemaker finished with three RBI as St. Paul had just five hits in the game. Jordan Jess earned the victory with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. Chris Jacobs had a homer and was walked four times for the RedHawks.
Game 4 will be tomorrow night in St. Paul. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05. Neither team has named their starter.
By Robert Pannier
Featured Image by Capture Twin Cities