Saints Break Attendance Record in 8-7 Loss to SaltdogsST. PAUL, MN September 4, 2016
With the North Division already locked up, the St. Paul Saints only goal left in the regular season is to try and secure the best record in the American Association. Though they lost a chance to gain a game back on Wichita with an 8-7 loss to the Lincoln Saltdogs on Saturday night, with 8,497 fans passing through the gates the Saints broke their single-season attendance record, attracting 405,912 fans this year. The Saints are now 60-39 with one game left in the regular season.
Tied at six in the sixth inning, Mark Hamburger made his first relief appearance of the season. The Saltdogs quickly loaded the bases with a pair of base hits and a walk and brought in a run when Rene Leveret hit a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 7-6. Luis Alen then doubled to left field to bring in another run to make it 8-6.
The Saints were able to get a run back in the sixth inning with back-to-back extra base hits. David Bergin doubled to left field and was driven in on an RBI double by Nate Hanson to make it 8-7. Hanson finished the night 4-5 with three doubles and an RBI, tying the franchise record for most doubles in a game. He becomes the 18th player in Saints history to hit three doubles in a single game.
Facing Saltdogs closer Evan Reed in the ninth inning, the Saints managed to get the tying run on base when Alonzo Harris reached on a two-out single. However, when Harris attempted to steal second he was thrown out for the final out of the game.
Early in the game, the Saints opened up a 6-0 lead with a five-run second inning. Tony Caldwell singled to start the inning and Vinny DiFazio followed with a windblown double to centerfield. Making his first professional start, rookie Jon Kristoffersen singled to drive in Caldwell, giving the Saints a 2-0 lead. It was Kristoffersen’s first professional hit and RBI. Harris was then hit by a pitch and Breland Almadova hit a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 3-0. Tony Thomas plated a run with an RBI single to centerfield to make it 4-0 and Bergin reached on a fielder’s choice to put runners on second and third. Hanson then hit a groundball back to Saltdogs starter Ryan O’Sullivan, who committed an error that allowed Hanson to reach first and Thomas to score, making it 5-0. Angelo Songco capped the rally with an RBI single to center that made it 6-0.
The Saltdogs responded emphatically in the third inning. Saints starter Corey Williams walked Juan Martinez to start the frame before Curt Smith singled and Rene Leveret was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With nobody out, Luis Alen uncorked a grand slam to left, his ninth home run of the season, to make it 6-4. Alen finished 3-4 with five RBI and a run scored.
With runners on the corners and one out in the fifth, Williams delivered a wild pitch that allowed the runner to come in from third to make it 6-5. Cesar Valera then hit an RBI groundout to second that tied the game at six. Williams pitched 5.0 innings, giving up six runs (five earned) off eight hits while walking four and striking out four.
The Saints close out the regular season against the Saltdogs on Monday at 11:05 a.m.The Saints will send RHP Benji Waite (2-2, 3.86) to the mound while the Saltdogs are TBA. It is Metropolitan State University Variety Show Monday featuring guest emcee Lizz Winstead and musical guest Prof. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities and heard on Club 1220 KLBB.