ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The St. Paul Saints wrapped up the exhibition season with a 6-3 win over the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks on Tuesday morning in front of a crowd full of school kids. The Saints used five pitchers, including Jason Creasy, who threw three scoreless innings.
Saints score three in the third
The Saints got on the board first in the third inning when Jon Kristoffersen was hit by a pitch with one out. He advanced to third when Danny Oh hit a ground ball to second baseman Tyler Urps, but his throw to second base went into left field, putting runners on second and third. Nate Hanson stepped up to the plate a few batters later and ripped a double to left field to score both Kristoffersen and Oh to put the Saints up 2-0.
Hanson advanced to third when Anthony Gallas singled to left and came around to score when Tony Thomas hit a single to left to put the Saints up 3-0. The inning ended when Tony Caldwell grounded out to first base, but not before St. Paul took the early lead.
Fargo fights back late
The Redhawks slowly clawed their way back into the game, starting in the seventh inning when K.D. Kang led off with a single to center field. That brought Jesus Posso to the plate, and he hit a two-run home run into the Saints bullpen in left field to cut the Saints lead to 3-2.
The Redhawks tied the game in the eighth inning when Derrick Fox drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a throwing error, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and eventually scored on a single by Mitch Delfino that tied the game at three.
Saints put the nail in the coffin
The Saints retook the lead in the bottom of the eighth when Gallas led off with a double to left field and scored when Thomas hit a double to left field of his own. After a strikeout, Brady Burzynski singled to right field to score Thomas and open up a two-run lead for the Saints. They weren’t done, however, as Tanner Vavra doubled, and scored when Oh singled to left field to make it a three-run Saints lead.
The lead was three runs as the Saints took the field in the top of the ninth inning, needing just three outs to end the game. The first batter was Kang, who struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. The next batter was Posso, who grounded out to second base for the second out. The final batter was Kes Carter, who struck out swinging to end the game.
- The Saints wrapped up the exhibition season with a 3-1-1 record against the Redhawks.
- Before the season opener on Thursday, the Saints will need to make some cuts to get down to the 23-man limit set by the league. Of those 23 players, at least five must be classified as rookies, meaning they have less than two years of professional experience. Teams can have no more than five veterans, defined as someone with seven or more years of experience. The rest can be a combination of league service players, who have between three and seven years of experience, but no more than five can be LS-4 players.
- Mark Hamburger, who was the team ace last season, will get the start on Thursday as the Saints will host the Gary Southshore Railcats to open the regular season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Thursday night. The Redhawks will open the season in Texas when they face the Airhogs, also on Thursday night.
Win - Vinny Nittoli
Loss - Tyler Thompson
Save - Ken Frosch
Player of the game - Tony Thomas (2-4, game-winning RBI double in the bottom of the eighth.)