Saints Complete Sweep with Walk-Off Victory, 6-5
It was 71 home games since the last time the St. Paul Saints had a walk-off victory. That came on July 26, 2017 when Kes Carter hit a home run in the 14th inning against the Sioux City Explorers. On Wednesday afternoon Josh Allen’s walk-off was less dramatic, but no less important as he drew a bases loaded walk in a 6-5, eight inning victory over the Chicago Dogs in game two of the doubleheader in front of 5,918 at CHS Field. With the win the Saints improved to 4-2 on the season.
The Saints rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie it at five after three innings. The game remained that way in a contest that was scheduled for seven innings. In the bottom of the eighth Burt Reynolds led off by being hit by a pitch. Blake Schmit’s sacrifice bunt landed just passed the outstretched arm of the pitcher Josh Goosen-Brown. His throw to second was not in time and the Saints had runners at first and second with nobody out. Jeremy Martinez then laid down a bunt, but Goosen-Brown fielded it on the third base side and threw out Reynolds at third. Joey Wong loaded the bases with a single to left. Dan Motl followed with a hard liner back to the mound that Goosen-Brown knocked down and threw home to get the force out. That brought up Allen who drew a five pitch walk to force in Martinez for the game winner.
The Saints needed extras because they were able to battle back after giving up five runs in the second inning. Victor Roache led off against starter Dustin Crenshaw with an infield single to short. Keon Barnum then drilled a two-run homer to left, his second of the season, giving the Dogs a 2-0 lead. With one out, Harrison Smith made it 3-0 with a solo homer to left, his first of the season. Rey Gonzalez lined a single into right and David Olmeda-Barrera hit a two-run homer to right, his first of the season, making it 5-0 Dogs.
The Saints answered immediately in the bottom of the inning when Reynolds led off with an infield single to short. Schmit singled him to third and Reynolds scored when the ball was misplayed by the left fielder Tony Rosselli, cutting the Saints deficit to 5-1. Martinez made it 5-3 with his first homer of the season, a two-run blast to left-center.
In the third Max Murphy led off with a double down the right field line. With one out, Reynolds reached second on a fielding error by third baseman Trey Vavra that put runners at second and third. Schmit came through with a two-run single to tie the game at five. Schmit went 3-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
The Saints didn’t have another runner in scoring position until the eighth as they managed just a single in the fourth and another in the sixth. The latter came from Joey Wong off of former Major Leaguer Carlos Zambrano who tossed 2.0 shutout innings of relief on one hit and struck out two.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three-game series on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Jake Matthys (1-0, 1.13) to the mound against Dogs LHP D.J. Snelten (1-0, 3.60). We honor Minnesota native, and WWE Hall of Famer, Mean Gene Okerlund with Post-Game professional wrestling from F1RST Wrestling. The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM and seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities.
By Sean Aronson