It was as if all the frustration came pouring out at once for the St. Paul Saints. They pounded out a season tying high 18 hits, eight of the nine starters collected at least one hit, eight of nine scored at least a run and seven of nine collected at least an RBI. All of that added up to a 12-2 thrashing of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Saturday night at CHS Field in front of 8,602. The win improved the Saints to 38-33 and they remain 3.5 games out of first in the North Division.
The Saints scored four runs in the second inning all with two outs. Breland Almadova started it with a two out, bunt single. Back-to-back walks to Tim Colwell and JJ Gould loaded the bases. That brought up the hottest hitter Nate Hanson, who extended his hitting streak to 16 games in the first. This time he singled to left scoring a pair of runs to make it 2-0. Tony Thomas followed with a two-run double that put the Saints up 4-0.
In the fourth the Saints tied another season high for runs in an inning as they sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven runs, once again with two outs. The Saints loaded the bases with the first three hitters as Colwell and Gould singled while Hanson walked. After Will Solomon got Thomas and Kes Carter to pop out, Mitch Delfino came through with a two-run single to make it 6-0. Solomon’s night was done and the RedHawks brought in Anthony Pacillo. That’s when the most bizarre play of the night occurred. With runners at first and second Ben Buerkle hit a grounder to first. He beat the throw from the first baseman Adams to the pitcher Pacillo covering. Hanson raced around third and beat the throw home to make it 7-0. Delfino headed to third and catcher Charlie Valerio’s throw went into left field which allowed Delfino to score making it 8-0. Buerkle raced to second and went to third as the ball got by left fielder Keury De La Cruz. After all than Tanner Lubach walked and Almadova singled to left scoring Buerkle to give the Saints a 9-0 lead. Colwell finished the scoring with a two-run triple to make it 11-0.
Saints starter Benji Waite, who allowed one hit through the first four innings, gave up two runs in the fifth when he walked the leadoff hitter in the inning Brandon Tierney. Yhoxian Medina singled him to second. Two wild pitches later and Tierney scored to make it 11-1. With two outs and the bases loaded Adams singled home Medina to make it 11-2, but Colwell threw out Grayson trying to score to end the inning. Waite went 5.0 innings allowing two runs on three hits while walking five and striking out three.
The Saints answered with one in the bottom of the inning when Thomas singled with one out and scored on Carter’s double.
Jeff Malm earned a save for the Saints by throwing 4.0 innings of shutout relief allowing two hits and striking out one.
Offensively, Gould, Thomas, Delfino and Almadova all collected three hits.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the four game series at CHS Field on Sunday afternoon at 5:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Mark Hamburger (11-3, 3.36) to the mound against RedHawks RHP Tyler Thompson (3-2, 3.18).