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Getting to CHS Field

All Too Familiar Scene As Raccoons Can't Hold Lead Late, Lose 5-2 To Explorers

ST. PAUL, MN June 26, 2018

The #MPRRaccoon reached the top of the UBS building unscathed on June 13.  The St. Paul Raccoons, who changed their name on Tuesday night to honor the mammal that captivated the world, weren’t as fortune against the Sioux City Explorers.  While the raccoon climbed to the top of the 25-story building to safety, the Raccoons would have gotten to floor 23 before they met their demise.  They carried a 2-0 lead into the eighth inning, but gave up five runs and lost 5-2 at CHS Field in front of 7,189.


          The Raccoons re-signed left-handed pitcher Jeff Malm, whom they released on June 12, because their original starter Eddie Medina still wasn’t healthy enough to go.  Malm was brilliant in his 4.0 innings of work.  He walked the second batter he faced, Michael Lang, but retired the next 11 men he faced.  Malm went 4.0 hitless, scoreless innings while walking one and striking out one.


          The Raccoons turned it over to their bullpen from that point as Beck Wheeler pitched a perfect fifth.  The no-hitter lasted until two were out in the sixth when Luis Durango singled through the right side for the Explorers first hit of the night.  Wheeler struck out Lang to end the inning.  Wheeler went 2.0 shutout innings allowing one hit while striking out five.


          With the Raccoons up 1-0 in the seventh Mike Devine came in to pitch for the Saints.  Jay Austin reached on a single when catcher Justin O’Conner fielded a tapper in front of the plate, but as he went to throw to first his back foot slipped.  Nate Samson then singled to center putting runners at first and second.  Devine struck out Jose Sermo for the first out before Jay Baum singled to center to load the bases.  Devine pitched out of the jam striking out Dexture McCall and getting Dylan Kelly to ground out to end the inning.


          In the bottom of the seventh the Raccoons added an insurance run as JJ Gould and Kes Carter walked with two outs.  Anthony Phillips’ single to left plated Gould giving the Raccoons a 2-0 lead.


          In the eighth, however, Devine gave up a leadoff single to David Kerian.  A passed ball moved Kerian to second, but Devine struck out Durango.  Michael Lang then hit a high tapper off the plate for an infield single to put runners at the corners.  Austin made it 2-1 with a sacrifice fly to right.  Samson singled to center putting runners at first and second and that was the night for Devine as the Saints brought in their closer Tom Wilhelmsen.  He walked Jose Sermo to load the bases and Baum cleared them with a double to right-center giving the Explorers a 4-2 lead.  Dexture McCall then ripped an RBI single to right giving the Explorers a three-run lead.


          The Raccoons got on the board in the first against former Major Leaguer Taylor Jordan.  Phillips was hit by a pitch and Max Murphy singled him to second.  With two outs Noah Perio Jr. singled home Phillips giving the Raccoons a 1-0 lead.


          The finale of the three-game series is on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.  The Saints send RHP Matt Solter (1-2, 3.58) to the mound against Explorers RHP Justin Vernia (4-1, 3.69).  It is the annual Toiler Paper Drive presented by Innovative Office Solutions.  The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities area, and heard on Alt 93.3 FM.