Former Saltdog, Gac, Homers Twice Helps Saints Exorcise Haymarket Park Demons In 5-2 WinST. PAUL, MN July 2, 2015
FORMER SALTDOG GAC HOMERS TWICE HELPS SAINTS EXORCISE HAYMARKET PARK DEMONS IN 5-2 WIN
LINCOLN, NE (July 2, 2015) – If you can’t beat a team in their ballpark, grab their best player and let him do the work. The St. Paul Saints had won just two of the previous 24 series at Haymarket Park, but the Lincoln Saltdogs single-season home run leader, Ian Gac, helped propel the Saints to a 5-2 win on Thursday night. The Saints took the series, have now won 12 consecutive series to start the season and improved to 31-8 on the season and a 13.0 game lead in the North.
In the first inning Vinny DiFazio, who was named the Rawlings American Association Play of the Month for June on Tuesday, walked with two outs. That brought up Gac who homered to right, his fourth of the season, to make it 2-0.
With the score 2-0 in the fourth Saints starter Dustin Crenshaw was helped by his defense. Matt Forgatch led off with a single and stole second. With one out Curt Smith singled to left and Forgatch tried to score, but Willie Argo threw a strike to the plate getting Forgatch to cut down the run and keeping it 2-0.
It stayed that way until the fifth when Brian Joynt led off with a double for the Saltdogs. He moved to third on a groundout and scored on a sac fly by Ryan Wiggins to make it 2-1.
In the seventh the Saltdogs tied it when Joynt led off with a single. He advanced to third on a single by Mike Gilmartin. Wiggins came through with an RBI single to tie it at two. Crenshaw did a masterful job after that to keep it tied. He got Aaron Payne to ground into a fielder’s choice and then Eddie Young to hit into an inning ending double play. Crenshaw tossed 7.0 innings allowing two runs while scattering 10 hits. He didn’t walk anyone and has now not walked a batter in 48.2 innings pitched and has just one walk in 62.2 innings pitched this season.
Gac would make sure Crenshaw got his sixth win of the season. In the eighth Argo and DiFazio reached on infield singles. Up stepped Gac who crushed a 2-0 pitch over the left field wall, an estimated 475 feet, to put the Saints up three. Gac finished the night 2-4 with two homers and five RBI.
This is, however, Haymarket Park, which meant a win wouldn’t be easy. In the ninth with two outs and nobody on the Saltdogs made it interesting. With Ryan Rodebaugh on to close it out he walked Wiggins and Payne followed with a single to put runners at the corners and bring the tying run to the plate. Rodebaugh, however, would get Eddie Young to ground out to short to end the game earning Rodebaugh his eighth save of the season.
The only other series victories for the Saints at Haymarket Park came in 2005 and 2012. The 2012 series had the third game halted because of curfew with the Saints leading 8-2. The game was ultimately finished at Midway Stadium with the Saints winning.
The Saints head home to begin a seven game homestand which begins on Friday night with a three game series against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at 7:05 p.m. It is Xcel Energy Friday Night Fireworks with the music of SuoerHeroes and SuperZeroes. 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.