Five-Run Ninth Gives Saints Dramatic 7-6 Victory Over RedHawks
The St. Paul Saints had desperately been in need of something that could help them to get on track, and maybe Tuesday night’s dramatic victory could be just what the doctor ordered. St. Paul entered the ninth-inning trailing by four, but scored five runs to take the lead and held on for the 7-6 victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. Burt Reynolds hit his fourth home run since joining the Saints and Andrew Thome earned his first save with the team.
The contest was scoreless through the first two frames, but the RedHawks would jump out in front in the bottom of the third. Tim Colwell reached on an error to begin the frame and moved to second on a wild pitch. Steve Zimmerman walked with one out and Colwell came home when Devan Ahart laced a double into center to make it 1-0. Maikol Gonzalez followed with a sacrifice fly and Fargo-Moorhead was up by two.
St. Paul would get one of those runs back in the top of the fourth. Justin O’Connor led off the inning with his eighth home run of the season to cut the deficit to one.
In the fifth, the St. Paul Saints would tie the score. It would be the leadoff homer that would rear its head again, as her Reynolds took a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right field for his eighth homer of the year.
The score did not stay tied for very long, however. In the bottom of the fifth, Matt Solter retired the first two batters of the inning, but Ahart blasted his fourth home run of the year to put the RedHawks right back on top.
An inning later, Fargo-Moorhead extended their lead to four. Charlie Valerio started the inning with a double before Keury De La Cruz walked. That brought a call to the bullpen as Beck Wheeler came on. He struck out the first batter he faced, but Colwell doubled to bring in Valerio and Yhoxian Medina followed with a two run single to give the RedHawks a 6-2 lead.
Despite giving up the two home runs, will Solomon pitched a solid game. He came out after six, allowing 6-hits and 2-runs. Travis Ballew came on in the seventh and tossed two scoreless frames leading to the dramatic ninth-inning.
Anthony Pacillo came on in relief for the home team and gave up a single to Jake Smith. The RedHawks made another call to the bullpen, bringing in Jose Nivar, who hit Max Murphy to put two on with no one out.
Once again, Fargo-Moorhead opted to make a pitching change, as closer Randy McCurry came on. On the first pitch that McCurry threw, Noah Perio, Jr. singled to load the bases with no one out. That brought Reynolds to the plate who drew a four pitch walk to drive in Smith. McCurry had lost the plate, as he would walk Dan Johnson on four straight pitches to cut the deficit to two. Next up was Dante Bichette, Jr., who hit an 0-1 pitch up the middle for a base hit, scoring both Perio and Reynolds to tie the game. An error on the play allowed both runners to move into scoring position and there was still no one out.
Andrew Woeck took over for the RedHawks closer and would get a groundout that held both runners but, after intentionally walking Matt Snyder, Anthony Phillips hit a sacrifice fly that brought in Luke Pettersen to give St. Paul their first lead of the game.
Mike Devine (3-2) had come in in the eighth and tossed a scoreless frame to earn the victory. Andrew Thome came on in the ninth looking to close out the game for St. Paul and tossed a perfect frame for his first save of season.
Burt Reynolds was 1-3 with 2-runs and 2-RBI for St. Paul. The loss ruined a great evening for Devan Ahart, who was 2-5 with a run and 2-RBI.
The rubber match to this series will be tomorrow night. The Saints will send Ryan Zimmerman (1-1, 4.21) to the hill. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier