Late Onslaught Snaps Losing Skid; St. Paul Saints Win 10-6
For five innings Wednesday night it looked like the St. Paul Saints were going to drop their fifth straight game, but 10-runs over the final four innings erased a 3-run deficit and gave the team the 10-6 victory. The run production kept Mark Hamburger from dropping his first game of the season and saw five St. Paul batters rap out at least two hits.
Hamburger was opposed by Matt Shepherd, who was pitched extremely well through the first five innings. The Texas AirHogs starter retired the side in order in the first inning before giving up lone hits in the second and third. He would hit Angelo Songco with one out in the fourth and give up a double to Tony Thomas to put runners at second and third with just one out. However, Shepherd got a pop up and a ground out to keep the Saints off the board. In the fifth, he allowed a one out single, giving him five scoreless innings to start the game.
Meanwhile, his offense was staking him to a three-run lead. Saints starter Mark Hamburger kept the AirHogs off the scoreboard through the first two innings, but in the third they would touch him for three thanks, in part, to an error. Hamburger retired the first hitter of the inning, but an error allowed Will DuPont to reach first. He moved to third when Michael Hur singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Juan Sanchez. It was 1-0, but there were two outs and a runner at first. Next up was Burt Reynolds, who took the Saints starter deep for his American Association leading ninth homer of the season.
It would stay a three-run lead for Texas until the top of the sixth when the Saints would finally figure Shepherd out. Nate Hanson was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and moved to second when Songco singled. Thomas followed with a single that scored Hanson and it was 3-1. Two batters later Willie Argo singled to score Songco and Tanner Vavra’s ground out scored Thomas to tie the score.
Alonzo Harris led off the top of the seventh with a single and that chased Shepherd. Tyler Ihrig came on in relief, but he could not shut the door. A fielder’s choice put Breland Almadova at first and he moved to third when Hanson doubled. Songco drove Almadova home with a single and Thomas walked to load the bases. A walk to Mike Gilmartin drove home Hanson to make it 5-3 Saints.
Sadly, the lead would not last long. In the bottom of the seventh, DuPont doubled with one out and two batters later scored when Sanchez tied the game with his fourth homer of the year. Reynolds followed with a single and eventually scored on a single by Devon Rodriguez. That gave the AirHogs back the lead at 6-5.
Texas would find holding the lead was elusive to them as it had been to St. Paul. Four runs in the top of the eighth gave the Saints the lead right back. Maxx Garrett walked to start the inning, and former St. Paul closer Alan Oaks took over. He retired the next batter, but walked Almadova to put two on with one out. Hanson singled to score a run, and an error by the center fielder cleared the bases, as both Almadova and Hanson scored to make it 8-6 St. Paul. Songco then drilled a homerun, his fifth of the season to put Saints up by three. They would not relinquish the lead.
Harris’ homerun in the ninth extended the lead to four. It was his fourth homer of the year.
Caleb Thielbar (1-1) earned the victory. Oaks (1-2) took the loss.
The heart of the Saints order had a huge game. Thomas was 4-4 with a run and an RBI. He also drew a walk. Songco was 2-4 with 2-runs and 2-RBI. Hanson was 2-5 with 3-runs and an RBI.
Reynolds finished 3-5 with 2-runs and 2-RBI for Texas. Sanchez had 2-hits and drove in 3.
The Saints now head north to play the Sioux Falls Canaries. Game time is 7:05. Texas welcomes Winnipeg.
By Robert Pannier