The St. Paul Saints had never swept a four-game series in Kansas City before and, thanks to Tommy Collier, they still have not. The right-hander dominated St. Paul, allowing 4-hits while striking out 10 in leading the Kansas City T-Bones to a 5-2 victory. Noah Perio, Jr. drove in two in the game and Colin Walsh hit his second home run of the season to help lead the offense.
The Kansas City T-Bones were looking for a spark after dropping the first three games of this series and they got it when Colin Walsh hit a 2-o pitch for his second homer of the year. That made it 1-0.
It stayed that way until the third when the T-Bones would give themselves some cushion. Tucker Pennell led off with a walk, but was replaced on the bases on a fielder’s choice by Dylan Tice. Saints starter Trevor Foss got a fly ball for the second out of the inning, but a walk to Walsh kept the inning alive. Nick Torres followed with a drive to right that bounced off the turf and over the wall for a ground rule double. Tice scored with Walsh being held at third. Noah Perio, Jr. followed with a bloop into left-center. He rolled into second with a double as both runners scored to make it 4-0 Kansas City.
The St. Paul Saints had done nothing against T-Bones starter Tommy Collier through the first five innings. Collier had allowed just two-hits, both of which came in the third, and he had 7-strikeouts, including striking out the side in the fourth.
The Saints seemed to have no answers for the right-hander, but a break got a rally started in the top of the sixth. With one down, Max Murphy pounded a ball into the ground that rolled about 40 feet from home plate. He beat that grounder out for a single and Kyle Barrett followed with a ground single into right field that sent Murphy to third. Collier struck out Burt Reynolds, but Brady Shoemaker hit a hard grounder down the line that the third baseman could not handle. It rolled into the corner as both runners came around to score to cut the deficit in half.
The T-Bones got one of those runs right back in the bottom half of the inning. Perio roped a single to right to get the inning started. Two batters later, Perio was moving on a hit and run when Keith Curcio singled over the head of the St. Paul second baseman, moving Perio to third. He scored on a fielder’s choice to move the lead back to three.
That was plenty enough support for Tommy Collier (5-3) on this afternoon. The right-hander allowed 4-hits and 2-unearned runs. He did not walk a batter while striking out 10. In the ninth, Kevin Hill came on looking to close out the game. He retired the side in order for his first save of the season.
Noah Perio. Jr. finished 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI. Nick Torres also had 2-hits. Colin Walsh scored 2-runs for the T-Bones. Max Murphy led the Saints offense, going 2-4 with a run scored.
The St. Paul Saints are off on Monday, but begin a huge three-game series in Sioux City against the Explorers starting on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier