Pitching, Defense Shine As Saints Win 13th Consecutive Series With 3-2 VictoryST. PAUL, MN July 5, 2015
PITCHING, DEFENSE SHINE AS SAINTS WIN 13TH CONSECUTIVE SERIES WITH 3-2 VICTORY
ST. PAUL, MN (July 5, 2015) – The St. Paul Saints can roll out five starters that stack up against any team in the league. They lead the league in ERA and on Sunday evening at CHS Field Pedro Hernandez was magnificent striking out a career high nine as the Saints won their 13th consecutive series in 13 tries with a 3-2 win over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks to improve to 33-9.
Hernandez made two mistakes on the evening and they both left the ballpark. Joe Dunigan hit a solo shot to left in the second, his fourth of the season, to give the RedHawks a 1-0 lead. In the seventh Joe Staley got the RedHawks to within 3-2 with a solo homer to left, his fourth of the season. Hernandez was in command otherwise, but also got help on a sterling defensive play by Mitch Elliott in left.
With the Saints leading 3-2 in the seventh and two outs Anthony Renz and Frank Salerno singled. Up stepped Drew Muren who hit a slicing fly ball towards the line in left that Mitch Elliott made a full extension dive to rob Muren of extra bases and potentially two RBI that would have given the RedHawks the lead.
Hernandez went back out for the eighth and got the first two guys in the inning. Manager George Tsamis went to the mound as the right-handed Joe Bonfe came to the plate to face the lefty. Tsamis stuck with Hernandez, but he walked Bonfe. With the lefty Dunigan coming to the plate Tsamis had confidence in the veteran pitcher. Hernandez recorded his career high ninth strikeout freezing Dunigan with a fastball on the outside corner to end the inning. Hernandez went 8.0 innings allowing two runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out nine and improved to 5-2 on the season. The nine strikeouts tie a season high by a Saints pitcher. Jeff Shields struck out nine Grand Prairie AirHogs on June 3.
The Saints offense did just enough against RedHawks starter Tyler Alexander. With the Saints trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second Dan Kaczrowski walked with one out. Elliott hit a tapper to the left side that Alexander fielded, but his throw to first went into foul territory allowing the runners to reach second and third. Alonzo Harris’ sac fly tied the game at one. Anthony Phillips reached on an infield single that put runners at the corners and Willie Argo gave the Saints a 2-1 lead with an RBI single to right.
In the sixth the Saints took a 3-1 lead when Kaczrowski led off with a single to right off of Alexander. He would depart for reliever Benji Waite. Elliott sacrificed Kaczrowski to second. Harris singled him to third. Harris finished the night 2-4 and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Philipps’ sacrifice fly scored Kaczrowski.
Ryan Rodebaugh earned his ninth save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
The Saints play their first interleague series of the season when they welcome in the Ottawa Champions of the Can-Am League for a four game series beginning Monday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Robert Coe (3-1, 2.72) to the mound. It is the 25th Anniversary of Home Alone. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities, heard on Club 1220 KLBB and in the ballpark on 97.9 FM.