Jose Almarante kept the Saints off balance all night, going 6.2 innings, giving up just one run off seven hits and striking out seven as the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks defeated the Saints 4-2 in front of 9,527 fans at CHS Field on Friday night.
Saints starter Mark Hamburger ran into trouble in the fourth inning. Keury De La Cruz singled to start the frame and Hamburger hit Josh Mazzola to put two runners on with no one out. Brian Humphries followed with a base knock to right field, driving in De La Cruz from second to make it 1-0. With one out, Charlie Valerio’s sacrifice fly to right brought home Mazzola, giving Fargo-Moorhead a 2-0 lead.
After striking out the side in the fifth inning, Hamburger gave up a leadoff homer to De La Cruz in the sixth inning, his 13th of the season, to push the RedHawks to a 3-1 lead. De La Cruz finished the night 3-5 with a home run, an RBI and two runs scored.
In the eighth, it looked like Hamburger was going to work around a one out single. However Dustin Geiger singled to right with two outs, putting runners on the corners. Manager George Tsamis came out to the mound, and after a conversation with the Saints starter decided to leave Hamburger in to face Valerio. The RedHawks catcher made Hamburger work for the final out of the frame, battling over 11 pitches and breaking two bats before flying out to left field. Hamburger went 8.0 innings, giving up three runs off eight hits while walking one and striking out eight. He dropped to 11-2 on the season with the loss.
Working in relief of Hamburger, Corey Williams allowed a run to score in the ninth inning on an RBI double by Ryan Pineda, giving the RedHawks a 4-1 lead.
The Saints offense missed out on a couple of key scoring opportunities in the game. With runners on the corners and one out in the third, Alonzo Harris grounded into a 6-4-3 double play that took away a chance to plate the first run of the game. Harris finished the night 0-4, snapping his nine game hitting-streak.
In the seventh, an Adams single and a Vavra double put runner on second and third with two outs. RedHawks starter Jose Almarante was lifted for reliever Colton Reavis, who struck out Sam Maus without a swing to end the scoring threat.
Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, Adams led off with an opposite field home run, his fifth of the season, to cut the lead to 2-1.
Adams tried to get the Saints back into the game in the ninth with another long ball. Yet again leading off, he golfed a homer down the left field line, his sixth of the season, to make it 4-2. It was his second two-homer game as a Saint, finishing the night 3-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. With two outs, Vavra doubled to right field, bringing the tying run to the plate. Pinch hitting for Maus, Aaron Gretz flew out to center field, ending the game. Vavra finished the night 4-4 with two doubles, the first four hit game of his career.
The same two teams meet in the series finale on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Saints RHP Robert Coe (8-2, 4.91) will go for the Saints all-time wins record against RedHawks RHP Taylor Stanton (4-4, 3.79).