St. Paul Saints Close Out Four-Game Sweep with Hitting Onslaught
On a rainy night in the Twin Cities, the St. Paul Saints finished out a four-game sweep of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks by outslugging them 12-5. The Saints scored 35 runs in the four games, and have served notice that they are the team to beat in the American Association. The sweep also left them as the only remaining undefeated team in the league.
A steady stream of rain delayed the start of the game for well over an hour. The RedHawks probably wished it would have delayed it significantly longer. Alonzo Harris opened the bottom of the first inning for the Saints against Fargo-Moohead starter Bryan Blough with a double. Sam Maus followed with a single to right field that scored Harris. Two batters later Ian Gac drove in his sixth RBI of the season with a base hit that plated Maus.
In the top of the second inning the RedHawks got a run back against St. Paul starter Jeff Shields. Joe Dunigan singled to left field to begin the inning, and two batters later scored on passed ball to cut the lead in half.
In the third the Saints extended the lead back to two runs, and it was two RedHawks errors that made this happen. Willie Argo reached first on an error by the third baseman. Ian Gac grounded to third but the throw to first was dropped, allowing both runners to reach safely. Mike Kvansnicka singled to load the bases, bringing Angelo Songco to the plate. The 1-2 pitch from Blough hit Songco, driving in a run to make it 3-1.
In the fifth the rain started to pick up and it looked briefly like the game may be stopped, but the umpires agreed to let the game continue. A single by Joe Staley against Shields led off the fifth and Chris Duffy doubled to put both runners into scoring position. Zach Penprase hit a fly ball to center field that scored Staley to cut the deficit in half.
In the bottom half of the inning would give themselves quite a bit of breathing room. Willie Argo singled with one out and after Argo stole second base, Gac was walked. Kvansnicka singled scoring Argo. That brought Angelo Songco to the plate. Songco worked the count full, then ripped a ball all the way to the wall in center field. Both runners would come into score as Songco legged the hit into a triple.
That would be it for Blough. Paul Raglione relieved and threw a wild pitch that scored Songco. Ragilone retired the final two batters of the inning, but St. Paul had plated four and the game was quickly turning into a blowout.
In the sixth Argo hit a two out triple, and scored when Gac followed with a double. That made the score 8-2.
In the top of the eighth Fargo-Moorhead got another run to cut the Saints lead. A fielder’s choice by Stefan Gartrell scored Frank Salerno.
The previous time the RedHawks scored the St. Paul Saints responded with four runs. In the eight the exact thing would happen again. Fargo had scored their run when Salerno crossed the plate. In the bottom of the eighth Michael Noteware relieved and Sam Maus greeted him with a double to begin the inning. Two batters later Gac drove in his third run of the game, and eighth of the season. A double by Kvansnicka moved Gac to third, and brought Songco to the plate again. The St. Paul first baseman already had two RBI but he was about to more than double that number. On a 2-1 pitch Songco, absolutely blasted a Noteware offering over the right field fence that landed somewhere on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River (slight exaggeration added). That made the score 12-3.
In the ninth the RedHawks got two more runs. Duffy’s double scored Michael Leach and Penprase brought home Duffy with a single. That would be all they could muster, however, and the Saints won 12-5.
Shields (1-0) earned the win, going 5 innings, allowing 6 hits and 1 earned run, while striking out 5. Blough (0-1) took the loss.
Gac had another huge day at the plate, going 3-4 with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. Songco was 2-4 with 2 runs and 5 RBI. Kvansnicka also had a hot day, going 3-5 with 2 runs and an RBI. Songco’s big day at the plate gave him nine RBI, which leads the American Association by one over Gac. Gac leads the league with a .714 average. Argo leads the league in runs scored with eight.
Boxscore Provided by the American Association
By Robert Pannier