St. Paul Saints Double Up Laredo Behind Kvasnicka, Gac
In the St. Paul Saints’ last game against Amarillo, right fielder Mike Kvasnicka delivered a huge two-out double in the top of the 11th inning that helped to send the Saints to the 8-4 victory over the Thunderheads. In a reverse Déjà vu, Kvasnicka delivered a big two-run double in the top of the first inning against the Laredo Lemurs that got the club rolling toward an 8-4 win over the Lemurs. Kvasnicka combined with Gac, who also starred in Thursday’s game, to help lead the way.
The visitors took the early lead in the top of the first inning against Lemurs starter Chad Povich. Alonzo Harris led off the game with a single, and moved to second two batters later on a walk to Willie Argo. With two outs and two men on, Kvasnicka went with the Povich offering and lined it into right field for a double, scoring both Harris and Argo.
Up 2-0, St. Paul increased the lead to five in the top of the second. Joey Paciorek was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice, and moved to third on a single by Anthony Phillips. Harris followed with a single that scored Paciorek. A wild pitch moved Harris into scoring position as well, and a walk to Sam Maus loaded the bases with one out. Argo struck out bringing up Gac, who lined a single into left field, scoring Harris and Phillips. That gave Gac 15 RBI, which leads the American Association.
Saints starter Jeff Shields had cruised through the first two innings, but in the third Laredo plated two runs. A.J. Kirby-Jones walked with one out, and Luke Bailey followed with a two-run home run that made the score 5-2. In the fourth, Abel Nieves doubled to start the inning, and scored on a ground out by Denis Phipps to cut it to 5-3. It was getting quite dicey for the Saints
In the fifth St. Paul extended their lead to three. A lead-off walk to Gac was followed by two-out walks to Paciorek and Steve Nikorak, loading the bases. Ryan Beckman, who relieved with one out in the fifth, hit Phillips to drive home Gac and make it 6-3.
Each team plated runners in the ninth inning although, following the game’s overall feel, St. Paul scored twice as many in the ninth as Laredo did. Gac doubled to start the ninth, and Kvasnicka singled to move Gac to third. Angelo Songco stepped to the plate, and on the first pitch he saw from Luis Pollorena he lined into right field scoring Gac. Three batters later Phillips singled to score Kvasnicka.
In the bottom half of the inning, Kevin Taylor walked with one out and scored on a double to right field by Abel Nieves. Nieves continued his excellent start, going 3-5 with a run and an RBI. The three hits moved his average to .355.
Kvasnicka was 3-5 with a run and two RBI. That gives the right fielder a five-game hitting streak where he is 11-24 with 5 runs scored and 5 RBI. Gac went 2-4 with 2 runs and 2 RBI. The two-hits actually lowered his batting average to .621. The Saints star has hit in all eight games this season and already has two 4-hit games. He has been ridiculously hot, scoring 8 runs and driving in 15. He also has 8 doubles.
By Robert Pannier