Saints Falter In First Chance To Clinch North, Lose 5-2ST. PAUL, MN September 2, 2016
It will take one win by the St. Paul Saints or one loss from the Winnipeg Goldeyes for the North Division crown to stay with the Saints. Neither happened on Friday night as the Saints lost 5-2 at CHS Field in front of 8,339. With the loss the Saints fell to 59-38 and their magic number to clinch the North remains at one.
Facing the second best pitching team in the league the Saints struggled offensively most of the night despite facing spot starter, Stephen Shackleford. They were able to come back from two separate one run deficits, but the Saltdogs put up three in the seventh to put the game away. With the game tied at two in the top of the seventh Kramer Sneed hit the leadoff batter in the inning, Tyler Urps. He was sacrificed to second by Robby Kuzdale. Juan Martinez gave the Saltdogs a 3-2 lead with an RBI single to left. Sneed departed for reliever Benji Waite and he was greeted by base hits from the first four hitters. Curt Smith doubled off of Waite, but the Saints defense was able to throw Martinez out at the plate as Tanner Vavra’s relay throw to Aaron Gretz was in time to prevent the run from scoring. Unfortunately, Waite wasn’t as fortune with Luis Alen who singled down the left field line scoring Smith to give the Saltdogs a 4-2 lead. Austin Gallagher singled Alen to second and John Smith gave the Saltdogs a three run lead with an RBI single.
The Saints never led in the game and trailed 1-0 in the third when Austin Darby reached on an infield single to second. Urps singled him to second and Kuzdale sacrificed the runners over. A sacrifice fly by Martinez made it 1-0 Saltdogs.
In the bottom of the inning the Saints tied it at one when Brady Burzynski struck out, but the ball went to the backstop allowing Burzynski to reach first. He stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI double from Ryan Cavan.
In the fifth the Saltdogs took a 2-1 lead when Kuzdale doubled and, after a two-out intentional walk to Curt Smith, Alen singled home Kuzdale.
The Saints once again tied it in the sixth as Cavan led off with a walk and moved to second on a ground out by Angelo Songco. Cavan took third on a wild pitch and Nate Hanson was intentionally walked. Shackleford departed for reliever Brad Orosey and Vinny DiFazio greeted him with a check swing RBI single to right.
The same two teams meet in the second game of the four game series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send LHP Kody Knaus (2-2, 5.35) to the mound against Saltdogs RHP Matt Larkins (7-7, 3.91). We get ready to tee it off for the Ryder Cup with the help of Eagle Valley Golf Course. The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities area, and heard on BOB FM.