ST. PAUL, MN – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (19-15) beat the St. Paul Saints 9-8 in 11 innings at CHS Field on Saturday night.
Tied at 8-8 in the top of the 11th inning, Dave Sappelt led off with a single to right-centre and took second on a wild pitch. Josh Romanski came back from a 1-2 count to draw an eight-pitch walk. Two batters later, Eric Aguilera lined a single to left that scored Sappelt with the go-ahead run.
Victor Capellan worked a scoreless bottom of the 11th inning to earn his 14th save of the year. Capellan retired Kes Carter on a deep fly ball to centre for the final out, stranding the tying run on base.
The Goldeyes trailed 8-5 as late as the top of the seventh. Sappelt led off the inning with a double down the left field line, extending his hitting streak to 10 consecutive games. After Romanski singled to right, Reggie Abercrombie lined a single to left-centre that scored Sappelt. Romanski went to third, and Abercrombie advanced to second on an error charged to left fielder Richard Prigatano. Left-hander Kenneth Frosch relieved Ryan Schlosser and retired Aguilera for the first out of the inning. After Beck Wheeler relieved Frosch, Andrew Sohn hit a sacrifice fly to centre that scored Romanski.
Jack Charleston kept it a one-run game with a scoreless bottom of the seventh. Charleston faced second and third with one out, but fielded back-to-back sharp comebackers from Jake Smith and Max Murphy to retire the side.
With two outs and no one on base in the top of the eighth, Tucker Nathans crushed an opposite-field home run that tied the game.
Cameron McVey pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth, striking out Prigatano and Anthony Phillips back-to-back to strand two runners.
The Goldeyes were held scoreless in the ninth and 10th by Tom Wilhelmsen.
Rookie right-hander Carter Johnson (1-0) matched Wilhelmsen with two scoreless innings, and earned his first career win. The Saints put the winning run on second base with no outs in the ninth when Justin O’Conner reached on a dropped third strike and a Goldeyes’ throwing error. Johnson, however, came back to retire the next three hitters in a row, stranding O’Conner at second. Johnson then worked a perfect bottom of the 10th.
Mike Devine (1-1) took the loss in relief for the Saints (19-15).
Winnipeg took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a one-out, opposite-field home run from Grant Heyman.
The Saints answered back with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Dante Bichette Jr. doubled to right-centre leading off. After Prigatano was hit by a pitch, Phillips sacrificed the runners ahead. O’Conner singled to centre to drive in the tying run, while Carter’s groundball to first brought home Prigatano with the lead run.
Murphy led off the bottom of the third with a walk, stole second base, and scored the Saints’ third run on a single to left-centre from Brady Shoemaker.
The Goldeyes cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the fourth. Abercrombie doubled into the right field corner leading off, took third on a groundball to shortstop from Aguilera, and scored on a Sohn fielder’s choice. Abercrombie beat Bichette’s throw to the plate when Sohn grounded to third.
O’Conner pulled a solo home run to left-centre with one out in the bottom of the fourth, extending St. Paul’s lead to 4-2.
Kevin Garcia led off the top of the fifth with a single to centre. After Nathans was retired, Sappelt and Romanski drew consecutive walks to load the bases. Abercrombie beat out an infield single that scored Garcia, and the Goldeyes took a 5-4 lead when Aguilera singled through the right side. Sappelt scored the tying run on Aguilera’s hit, while Romanski came home when Murphy made an error in right.
The Saints answered again in the bottom of the fifth. An error, walk, and single loaded the bases with no outs. Goldeyes’ starter Charle Rosario struck out Prigatano before Phillips lined a two-run single to right-centre.
The Saints scored in a fifth consecutive inning with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Noah Perio Jr. singled home Jake Smith. Bichette followed with a sacrifice fly to centre that plated Shoemaker that made it 8-5 St. Paul.
Rosario took a no-decision, allowing six runs, five earned, on six hits in four and one-third innings. Rosario walked five and struck out two.
Saints’ starter John Straka also took a no-decision, allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits in five innings. Straka walked two and struck out three.
The game took four hours and 11 minutes to play, and the clubs have combined for seven hours and 47 minutes of baseball over the last two nights.
The four-game series concludes Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. Edwin Carl (2-2, 5.93) starts for the Goldeyes. All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca
The Goldeyes return home on Monday 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.