WICHITA, KS (June 27, 2012) – It takes at least 27 outs to win a baseball game. The Saints found out exactly what that meant on Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium as they carried a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth only to lose 6-5 as the Wichita Wingnuts scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth to win.
The Saints weren’t perfect during the first eight innings, but any mistakes that were made the Saints found a way to make the right pitches or come up with the defensive plays to keep the Wingnuts scoreless. That was until the ninth. The Saints pitching staff had given up just three hits to the second best hitting team in the league entering the ninth. Anthony Claggett came out of the bullpen to finish it off. C.J. Ziegler led the inning off and popped one up into foul territory. Catcher Alex Garabedian removed his mask, looked up, but the ball drifted back towards the field of play and Garabedian missed catching it by about two to three feet as the ball landed foul. The very next pitch Ziegler roped a double to left and that was all the Wingnuts needed to gain the momentum. David Peralta followed by reaching on an infield single to short which put runners at the corners. Justin Tellam doubled to deep center scoring Ziegler to make it 5-1. Jared McDonald then hit a three-run homer to left-center, his fourth of the season, to make it 5-4. Claggett got the first out of the inning when Mike Conroy grounded out to first. The top of the order came up and Ryan Khoury tied the game with a solo home run to left, his first of the season. Jake Kahaulelio then singled and Claggett left the game in favor of Reid Mahon. The first batter he faced, John Rodriguez doubled, putting runners at second and third. Juan Richardson was walked intentionally loading the bases. That gave Ziegler another opportunity. He worked the count to 3-1 and drilled the next pitch down the left field line, but foul. On a 3-2 pitch he fouled out to third. Peralta then came to the plate and walked on four pitches to force in the winning run.
It ruined an incredible night for a few different Saints. Starter Chris Odegaard was incredible. He went 6.0 shutout innings allowing three hits while walking four and striking out three. He ran into a few jams, but managed to make the right pitches each time. In the third with the bases loaded and two outs he got Rodriguez to ground out to short as Frost made a nice backhand sliding play to end the inning.
In the fifth with runners at second and third and one out Odegaard got Khoury to pop out and Kahaulelio to fly out to end the inning.
The Saints turned two double plays with fly balls to Jose Hernandez in right and the runner at first breaking too far to second to return to the bag.
The Saints offense put up a run in five different innings. In the second Ronnie Bourquin hit a solo homer, his fifth of the season, to give the Saints a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth with the Saints up 2-0 Jon Townsend doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single by Frost. Frost finished the night 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored as he hit in the lead off spot, the first player to hit lead off for the Saints this season other than Jim Rapoport.
The Saints made it 4-0 in the sixth back-to-back doubles by Tanner Townsend and Bourquin scored a run. Bourquin finished the night 2-3 with a double, homer, two RBI and a run scored.
They made it 5-0 on a sacrifice fly by Rapoport in the seventh a lead that looked comfortable until it all fell apart in the ninth.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Alberto Rolon (2-2, 6.95) while the Wingnuts are TBA.