Late Rally Gives Saltdogs 6-5 Win Over St. Paul Saints
The St. Paul Saints got another outstanding outing from their starting pitcher, but were unable to hang onto the lead, as the Lincoln Saltdogs rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to win 6-5. The loss by the Saints was the first time that the team has lost after leading after seven innings.
Pedro Hernandez started for the Saints, and he pitched a beauty into the seventh inning. The left-hander allowed two singles in the second inning, but retired the side in order in the first and third to keep the Saltdogs off the scoreboard.
Lincoln starter Jesse Smith was having equally as much success through the first three frames. He retired the side in order in the first, then let the first two batters reach in the second before retiring the side to end the threat. In the third he gave up two hits, but made big pitches to get the final two outs to keep the score tied.
In the fourth, both teams were able to plate runners. In the top half of the inning Angelo Songco singled to begin the frame and moved to third on a base hit by Mike Kvasnicka. Robert Youngdahl followed with a single that scored Songco, and two batters later Dan Kaczrowski grounded out to bring home Kvasnicka to make it 2-0.
In the bottom of the inning the Lincoln Saltdogs got one of those runs back. Matt Forgatch singled to begin the inning, stole second and moved to third on a ground out. Curt Smith delivered a single that scored Forgatch and it was a one-run game.
In the top of the fifth the St. Paul Saints extended their lead. Willie Argo drew a walk with one out. Ian Gac followed with a single and Songco walked to load the bases. Kvasnicka delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Argo and it was 3-1 Saints.
The score would remain that way until the bottom of the seventh when the Saltdogs cut the deficit in half. Smith singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Mitch Canham grounded out to move Smith to third and Brian Joynt reached on an error that brought home Smith to make it 3-2.
In the eighth the home team put together a big rally to grab their first lead of the night. Alex Sogard retired the first batter of the inning, and manager George Tsamis brought in Mikey Mehlich. He walked the first two batters he faced before striking out Smith. However, before he recorded the out, the two base runners, Jon Gaston and Smith, stole second and third to put two runners in scoring position.
Dylan Chavez came in for Canham, but hit the Lincoln catcher to load the bases. Once again Tsamis called to his bullpen, this time bringing in Drew Gay. The right-hander gave up a base hit to Brian Joynt on the first pitch he threw that scored both Forgatch and Gaston. Jeremy Hamilton followed with a base hit scoring Hamilton and Mike Gilmartin brought home the final run of the inning with a single that scored Joynt. The one-run deficit had quickly become a three-run lead.
Zach Arneson, who had relieved in the eighth, came back out in the ninth. He walked Argo and then gave up a single to Gac to put two on with no one out. Angelo Songco followed with a grounder to Hamilton who threw to second, but the throw was off target, and everyone was safe. A base hit by Kvasnicka scored Argo and that would be it for Arneson.
Mackenzie King, the former Saints pitcher, took over. He got Youngdahl to hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Gac to make it a one-run game. Most important was the fact that Songco was just 90-feet from tying the game. King worked the count to 2-2 on Anthony Phillips before inducing him to hit into the 6-4-3 double-play that ended the game.
Arneson (1-0) earned the victory for Lincoln. King earned his third save of the season. Mehlich (0-1) took the loss.
Gac was 3-5 for the St. Paul Saints with a run scored. Songco went 1-2 and walked 3 times, plus he scored a run. Argo was 0-2, but he scored 2 runs and walked twice. Kvasnicka was 2-4 with a run scored and 2 RBI.
Smith went 3-4 with a run and an RBI for the Saltdogs. Joynt was 2-4 with a run and 2 RBI.
By Robert Pannier