St. Paul Saints 8-Run Fifth Propels Team to Win: Saints Summary
It was a huge win for the Saints who are basically in “do-or-die” mode every night now. They simply have to win virtually every game they play until the end of the season if they are going to grab the Wild Card berth and tonight was a great start toward making that happen. The win by the Saints was a huge one, but like all of their wins these days it did not come easily.
It actually looked like St. Paul was going to blow out the Saltdogs. Trailing 1-0 in the fifth, all heaven would break loose as the Saints sent 12 men to the plate and scored eight runs. With Zach Varce on the hill he gave up a single to Joe Bonfe and then hit Keith Brachold. Joey Becker then laid down a sacrifice bunt that Varce made a poor play on, allowing Brachold to score. After Tyler Peterson reached on an error, Vinny DiFazio bunted, and when Ian Gac turned to throw to first, Varce was not there. He was credited with a single as Becker scored and it was 3-1. Devin Thaut then laid down a bunt to move the two runners into scoring position, and Evan Bigley followed with a single that scored Peterson. Willie Cabrera grounded into a fielder’s choice that put runners at first and third with two outs, and brought Angelo Songco to the plate. The Saints first baseman quickly got behind in the count as he fouled off the first two pitches. Ahead 0-2, Varce could not spot his pitch where he wanted it, and Songco blasted it for a three-run home run and a 7-1 lead. Bonfe followed with a single and scored when Brachold hit a ball to the wall for a run-scoring triple. Varce finally got out of the inning, but not before the Saints plated eight runs on six hits.
In the top of the sixth St. Paul upped the lead to 10-1. MacKenzie King relieved in the sixth, one day after being acquired by Lincoln from the Saints. With one out DiFazio and Thaut received back-to-back walks. Bigley singled to load the bases. Cabrera struck out bringing Songco to the plate. He took a 1-1 pitch into center field to score two, and the Saints had the 9-run lead.
While the outburst gave Saints starter Anthony Claggetta nice cushion, they would need every run this night. The Saltdogs came right back in the bottom of the sixth, when Brian Joynt drove home Ian Gac who had doubled just before Joynt’s at-bat. After Mike Gilmartin flew out to left field, Matt Forgatch hit his ninth home run of the year, and the score was 10-4.
Lincoln had just gotten started in their comeback. In the eighth Mikey Mehlich relieved Claggett and gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning. Gilmartin then grounded out scoring Gac and sending Joynt to third. Forgatch then singled to score Joynt and the score was 10-6.
In the ninth Mehlich returned to the mound, and after getting the first out of the inning he got into some trouble. Luis Nunez singled and Gaston followed with a walk. Gac then singled to load the bases, but Joynt flew out to shallow center field to keep it 10-6. That was it for Mehlich however.
He was relieved by Matt Meyer who entered the game and walked Mike Gilmartin on five pitches to drive home a run, making the score 10-7. Forgatch then came to the plate and had an amazing at-bat. He worked the count to 3-1 before fouling off the next three pitches. Meyer finally got him looking to end the game, and the Saints escaped with the 10-7 win.
Anthony Claggett (6-6) got the win, going seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out five. Matt Meyer recorded his first save of the season.
Bigley had two hits, extending his hit streak to 14 games. Songco and Bonfe also added two hits. Gac and Forgatch both had three hits in the loss, and Forgatch drove in four.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA