ST. PAUL, MN (May 21, 2015) – It was a night many in St. Paul will not soon forget. The long awaited debut of CHS Field began with a Mardi Gras style parade and ended with a victorious celebration for the St. Paul Saints as they took down the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 8-7 on Thursday night in front of 8,592 raucous fans.
The Saints used the long ball all night long pounding three home runs, but it was the bottom of the order that got things started for the Saints. With the RedHawks leading 1-0 in the second Ian Gac led off the inning with a single. He moved to second on a single by Mike Kvasnicka. With two outs Vinny DiFazio clubbed a two run single to give the Saints a 2-1 lead. The number nine hitter, Anthony Phillips, made it 3-1 with an RBI triple to straight away center.
The lead didn’t last long as the RedHawks tied the game in the third when Zach Penprase and Ryan Soares led off with back-to-back singles. With two outs Stefan Gartrell doubled them both home to tie the game at three.
The Saints regained the lead in the third when Sam Maus walked and, two batters later, scored on a Gac double to make it 4-3 Saints.
The Saints flexed their muscles in the fourth when Vinny DiFazio became the answer to a trivia question, clubbing the first home run in CHS Field history, a solo shot to left-center, his first of the season, to give the Saints a 5-3 lead.
After the RedHawks got to within a run with an unearned run in the fourth the big bat of Ian Gac proved why the Saints jumped on him when he became a free agent this off-season. Sam Maus singled to lead off the inning which chased starter Brandon Mann. Mike Noteware came on in relief and, after a strikeout, gave up a two-run blast to Gac, his first of the season, to give the Saints a 7-4 lead. Gac finished the night 4-4, falling a triple shy of the cycle and three RBI.
The RedHawks, however, used the long ball of their own. Joe Dunnigan hit a solo shot in the sixth, his first of the night and season, to make it 7-5. That was the night for Saints starter Pedro Hernandez who went 5.0 plus innings allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out three. The RedHawks tacked on their third unearned run of the night off of Drew Gay to make it 7-6.
In the seventh Dunnigan came calling again with a solo shot to right-center, his second of the night and season, to tie the game at seven.
The Saints hit their third homer of the night when Willie Argo gave the Saints the lead for good in the seventh, with a solo shot to left, his first of the season.
Alan Oaks came on in the ninth to close it for the Saints and with runners at first and second and one out, he got Dunnigan to line out to left and struck out Joe Staley to end the game.
The same two teams meet in the second game of a four game series on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Dustin Crenshaw (NR) to the mound against RedHawks RHP Tyler Herron (NR).
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