FARGO, ND (July 24, 2013) – The St. Paul Saints were down to their final nine outs and on the verge of falling another game behind the Fargo-Moorehead RedHawks in the North Division. They woke up in time to come from four back and hang on for a 7-6 victory on Wednesday night at Newman Outdoor Field and get back to within 5.5 of the division leading RedHawks.
With the Saints trailing 5-1 going to the top of the seventh, and having managed just three hits off of rookie starter Brian Ernst, they took advantage of a bout of wildness by the youngster. Ernst walked the leadoff hitter in the inning Brandon Tripp. He hit Ole Sheldon and walked Jose Hernandez to load the bases. Ernst was pulled from the game and the RedHawks went to their bullpen for former Saints pitcher Danny Gutierrez. In his first appearance against his old team the Saints knocked him around. Dwight Childs drove home two with a double down the right field line to make it 5-3. Trevor Hairgrove collected his first hit with the Saints, after going 0-10, a two-run double to left that tied the game at five. Adam Frost then singled to left putting runners at the corners with nobody out. Gutierrez would leave the game without recording an out. Lefty Joe Harris came into the game and promptly picked off Frost. After a strikeout of Joey Becker, Brad Boyer, the second leading hitter in the league, dropped a single into right scoring Hairgrove to give the Saints a 6-5 lead.
In the eighth Ole Sheldon launched one over the left field wall, his fifth of the season, a solo shot that gave the Saints a 7-5 lead. That run would turn out to be important.
In the bottom of the ninth reliever Mikey Mehlich, who pitched the seventh and eighth, went out for the ninth. He gave up back-to-back singles to Ronnie Bourquin and Nic Jackson to put runners at first and second. C.J. Retherford grounded into a fielder’s choice, with the out being recorded at second. After a walk to Keith Brachold loaded the bases, Mehlich was pulled for Jon Plefka. He got Tim Alberts to fly out to deep right that scored a run to make it a one run game. Plefka then got Buddy Sosnoskie to ground out to end the game.
The Saints jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Boyer walked with two outs, moved to third on a single by Willie Cabrera and scored on Tripp’s single.
Just like Tuesday night the RedHawks answered, this time by using the long ball. Alberts hit a solo homer to right in the second, his 12th of the season, to tie the game at one.
In the third the RedHawks got a pair of two-run homers from Bourquin, his eighth and Retherford, his fifth, to give the RedHawks a 5-1 lead.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series on Thursday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. at Newman Outdoor Field. The Saints send RHP Mark Hamburger (4-3, 4.11) to the mound against RedHawks RHP Taylor Stanton (5-3, 2.48).