FARGO, ND (August 6, 2013) – The last time the St. Paul Saints were in Fargo, they carried a one run lead into the bottom of the ninth inning only to lose. On Tuesday night at Newman Outdoor Field the story played out nearly the same as they lost 10-9 on a walk off single by Jeremiah Piepkorn in the bottom of the ninth.
With the Saints leading 9-8 in the bottom of the ninth closer Matt Meyer walked Nic Jackson to lead off the inning. Jackson stole second and moved to third on a fly out by C.J. Retherford. Keith Brachold, who had four hits on the night, singled home Jackson to tie the game at nine. Bryan Henry came out of the Saints bullpen to try and send the game to extra innings, but Tim Alberts doubled Brachold to third. Piepkorn then hit a fly ball down the left field line that landed fair and scored the game winning run.
The Saints bullpen had been tremendous up until the ninth. After Billy Soule allowed eight runs in the first 1.2 innings, Kyle Morrison, Jon Plefka and Mikey Mehlich pitched 6.0 scoreless innings of relief allowing two hits.
With the RedHawks leading 3-0 in the second the Saints managed to take a 4-3 lead. Brandon Tripp led off with a double and scored on a Jose Hernandez RBI double to make it 3-1. With one out Donald Blunt hit a grounder to short and Zach Penprase went to throw out Hernandez at third, but threw the ball away. Dan Kaczrowski made it 3-2 with an RBI double and Joey Becker finished the scoring with a two-run single.
The RedHawks came back in the second inning and put up a five spot. With the bases loaded and one out Soule walked Jackson to make it 4-4. Retherford’s RBI fielder’s choice gave the RedHawks a 5-4 lead. Brachold’s RBI single made it 6-4. Soule left the game in favor of Morrison, whose first pitch went to the backstop allowing a run to score. An RBI double by Alberts made it 8-4 RedHawks.
The Saints fought back in the fourth when Dwight Childs hit a solo homer to right, his eighth of the season, to make it 8-5. With one out Kaczrowski singled and moved to second on Adam Frost’s single, extending his hitting streak to 12. Joey Becker’s fielder’s choice ground out, coupled with a throwing error by Penprase allowed Kaczrowski to score and make it 8-6. Ole Sheldon added an RBI single to make it 8-7.
In the sixth the Saints regained the lead when Brad Boyer reached on an infield single with one out and with two outs Tripp hit a two-run homer to right, his 16th of the season to give the Saints a 9-8 lead.
The Saints came up with a tremendous defensive play in the seventh inning to preserve the lead. Retherford led off with a walk and Brachold doubled to the gap in right-center. Retherford tried to score, but Boyer’s relay to the plate nailed Retherford at the plate. Brachold took third on the throw, but Mehlich got Alberts to ground out with the infield in and Piepkorn to pop out to end the inning.
The same two teams meet Wednesday night at 7:02 p.m. at Newman Outdoor Field in the second game of the three game series. The Saints send RHP Anthony Claggett (7-3, 3.83) to the mound against RedHawks RHP Taylor Stanton (6-3, 2.52).