Best Regular Season In Franchise History, Saints Win Record 62nd Game With 2-0 Shutout of ExplorersST. PAUL, MN August 18, 2015
BEST REGULAR SEASON IN FRANCHISE HISTORY, SAINTS WIN RECORD 62ND GAME WITH 2-0 SHUTOUT OF EXPLORERS
ST. PAUL, MN (August 18, 2015) – It’s official. The 2015 St. Paul Saints are the greatest regular season team in franchise history. With a dazzling performance by pitcher Kramer Sneed, the Saints blanked the Sioux City Explorers 2-0 on Tuesday night in front of 7,685 and won for the 62nd time, surpassing the franchise record of 61 wins set in 2004. The win improved the Saints to 62-19, a 1.0 game lead over the Explorers for best overall record in the American Association.
In a potential first round match-up, the American Association bases the semi-final series on geography, the teams with the two best records, 61-19 each, played a playoff style game. Sneed was remarkable for the Saints as was Ryan Strufing for the Explorers.
The Saints had the first chance to score in the bottom of the third when they loaded the bases with one out. Dan Kaczrowski reached on an infield single, Alonzo Harris doubled him to third and Willie Argo walked. Vinny DiFazio, however, grounded into an inning ending double play.
The Explorers had a similar chance in the top of the fourth inning loading the bases with one out. Brock Kjeldgaard walked and Noah Perio and Ryan Court both singled to center. Sneed struck out Tommy Mendonca and got Rene Tosoni to foul out to first to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth the Saints had another opportunity to score, but had a runner cut down at the plate. Kaczrowski reached on another infield single and Harris once again followed with a double to left, but Kaczrowski was thrown out trying to score.
The Saints finally broke through in the seventh without a hit. Strufing walked the first two hitters of the inning, Mike Kvasnicka and Nate Hanson. Strufing left for reliever Billy Bullock who walked Joey Paciorek to load the bases. Strufing struck out Phillips and got Kaczrowski to fly out to shallow right. With the bases loaded and two outs Bullock hit Alonzo Harris on a 1-0 pitch to force in a run and give the Saints a 1-0 lead.
Sneed finished the night by throwing a perfect eighth inning and went 8.0 shutout innings allowing four hits while walking one and striking out three. He has allowed just three runs in 24.2 innings in August. He improved to 13-2, tying Dustin Crenshaw’s franchise record single-season win total, which was set on Sunday.
The Saints tacked on an insurance run in the eighth when Angelo Songco extended his hitting streak to nine games with a bloop single to left. Kvasnicka singled to left-center that sent Songco to third and Kvasnicka went to second on the throw to third. With two outs a wild pitch scored Songco for the insurance run.
Closer Ryan Rodebaugh pitched a perfect ninth to notch his league leading 22nd save of the season.
The same two teams meet in the second game of the three game series on Wednesday afternoon at CHS Field at 12:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Jeff Shields (11-2, 3.26) to the mound against Explorers RHP John Straka (9-1, 2.92). It is YMCA Day. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities area, heard on Club 1220 KLBB and in the ballpark on 97.9 FM.