Imperfect Ending As Saints Lose 2-1 On Walk-Off Single In NinthST. PAUL, MN May 30, 2014
SAINTS TIE IT IN NINTH, LOSE ON WALK-OFF SINGLE IN BOTTOM NINTH 2-1
LITTLE FALLS, NJ (May 30, 2014) – St. Paul Saints starter Anthony Claggett took a perfect game into the sixth. His offense, however, was held at bay during that time. In a great pitcher’s duel it was the bullpen’s that would decide the game and the Saints came up on the short end as they lost 2-1 to the New Jersey Jackals on a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth at Yogi Berra Stadium on Friday night.
Claggett retired the first 15 batters he faced and entered the sixth without a blemish. Jose Cuevas led off with a fly ball to shallow center, but center fielder Angelo Songco never saw it. Second baseman Brandon Wikoff raced out to shallow center and made a great over the shoulder grab for the first out. The next batter Tony Caldwell, however, looped a single into left to break up the perfect game and no-hit bid.
The Saints offense was being stymied by Jackals starter Keith Bilodeau. They collected their first hit in the third when Becker singled with one out, but he was erased on a double play. Both pitchers faced the minimum through 5.0 innings. The Saints looked destined to score in the sixth. With two outs Dwight Childs singled to right-center and then moved to third on a single by Evan Bigley. Brandon Wikoff hit a liner that looked like it was headed for right field, but second baseman Alonzo Harris made a great diving catch to his left that kept the game scoreless.
In the seventh the Jackals finally scored and Harris played a role. He led off with a hot smash to third that Joe Bonfe made a diving play on. As he got up to throw to first, he one hopped the ball past Henry Wrigley allowing Harris to reach on the hit, but advance on the throwing error. Harris moved to third on a ground out, and after an intentional walk to Joe Dunnigan, Carlos Mesa’s sacrifice fly to center gave the Jackals a 1-0 lead. Claggett looked like he would lose his fourth straight complete game in the last two seasons, but the Saints came through in the ninth.
Wikoff led off with an infield single to third. With one out Wrigley’s ground out to third advanced Wikoff to second. Up stepped Songco, who got down to his final strike before lining an RBI double down the right field line to tie the game at one.
Closer Dan Sattler came into the game in the ninth, but gave up a leadoff single to Harris that was just out of the reach of second baseman Wikoff’s glove. Jeremy Barnes lined a single to right moving Harris to second. Dunnigan then hit a one hopper up the middle that went off the glove of Wikoff on a backhanded attempt and into center scoring Harris for the game winner.
Claggett went 8.0 innings allowing one unearned run on three hits while striking out five while Bilodeau went 7.0 shutout innings allowing four hits while striking out three.
The same two teams meet in game two of the three game series on Saturday evening at 5:35 p.m. central. Both teams are TBA. The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.