ST. PAUL, MN – The Winnipeg Goldeyes beat the St. Paul Saints 16-5 at CHS Field on Thursday night.
The 16 runs, as well as the Goldeyes’ 18 base hits, are a season high. All nine of Winnipeg’s starters had at least one hit and one RBI.
“It’s one of those ballparks you have to come off the bus swinging,” said Goldeyes’ hitting coach Tom Vaeth. “There are a lot of hits to be had. It’s a good hitter’s park, and we were able to jump start it tonight. Josh Romanski came in here and lit a fire for us.”
In his first at bat since re-signing with the club, Josh Romanski slugged a two-out, solo home run in the top of the first to drive in the game’s first run.
The Goldeyes then broke the game open with an eight-run top of the second in which 13 batters came to the plate. Grant Heyman led off with a single through the right side and stole second base. After Josh Mazzolawalked, Kevin Garcia sacrificed the runners to second and third. Tucker Nathans hit a line drive that struck Saints’ starting pitcher Jake Esch before settling behind the mound. The infield single plated Heyman to make it 2-0.
Dave Sappelt followed Nathans with an RBI double down the left field line that scored Mazzola. Romanski then walked on four pitches to load the bases, and the Goldeyes took a 4-0 lead when Reggie Abercrombiereached on an error by shortstop Anthony Phillips. With the bases still loaded, Eric Aguilera doubled into the right field corner, scoring Sappelt and Romanski. Andrew Sohn then lifted a sacrifice fly to right that scored Abercrombie to make it 7-0. Left-hander Ryan Boelter relieved Esch, and the Goldeyes added two more runs on an RBI double to right-centre from Heyman and an RBI single to left by Garcia.
“We have some guys who’ve been struggling, so it was a good night to try and get well, in a sense,” said Vaeth. “We didn’t want to give any at bats away, no matter what the score was. We wanted to keep swinging, be locked in mentally at the plate tonight, and try to get some guys healthy (at the plate).”
Sappelt led off the top of the third with a home run to left and finished the game with four base hits and four runs scored. Later in the third, Abercrombie doubled down the left field line, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on an Aguilera single to right that stretched the lead to 11-0.
The Saints got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Max Murphy led off with a single, advanced to third on a Brady Shoemaker double, and scored when Noah Perio Jr. grounded out to shortstop. Two batters later, Anthony Phillips singled home Shoemaker with two outs.
The Saints added three more runs in the eighth on an RBI double from Perio Jr., and RBI singles by Dante Bichette Jr. and Jake Smith.
Leading 11-5 in the top of the ninth, the Goldeyes re-extended the lead with five more runs. Sohn drove in Sappelt with a two-out, infield single. Heyman followed with an RBI single to centre. Mazzola then became the ninth Goldeye to collect a hit and an RBI with a three-run home run to left-centre.
Cameron McVey closed out the game, striking out two in a perfect bottom of the ninth. Jordan Ebert made a sliding catch on a full sprint into the right field corner to rob Max Murphy of extra bases for the final out.
Alex Boshers (2-3) started for the Goldeyes and picked up the win. Boshers allowed five earned runs on 11 hits over seven and one-third innings. Boshers walked none and struck out four.
Esch (3-2) took the loss, allowing eight runs, five earned, on six hits in one and two-thirds innings. Esch walked three and struck out one.
Abercrombie finished with three hits and three runs scored. Aguilera had three RBI. Heyman had three hits, scored three runs, and drove in two. Sappelt finished a triple shy of the cycle.
The four-game series continues Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Mitchell Lambson (1-0, 0.82) faces right-hander Matthew Solter (1-2, 3.00). All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca
The Goldeyes return home on Monday for a seven-game homestand when they host the Wichita Wingnuts at 7:05 p.m. Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/Goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.