The balls were flying out of CHS Field on Saturday night. Unfortunately, for the St. Paul Saints, it was the visiting Texas Airhogs who were doing the hitting, putting up 14 runs on the Saints en route to just their 18th win of the season, a 14-9 victory.
Left fielder Dillon Thomas had a great night, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two home runs to go along with four runs batted in. His first home run was a solo shot in the third inning that tied the game at three, while his second was a two-run shot in the fourth inning. His two doubles came in the fifth and seventh, with his fifth inning double bringing in another run.
The Saints did get some offense in the game, scoring two runs in the first on a leadoff walk issued to Max Murphy and a single from Justin O’Conner. They both scored when Burt Reynolds ripped a double to left field that put the Saints in the lead.
They added another run in the second when Anthony Phillips struck out but reached on an error on the catcher that allowed him to advance to second base. He scored when Nathaniel Maggio doubled to center field.
The Saints scored two more in the fourth when Matt Snyder hit a one-out single and Maggio drew a two-out walk. Both of them scored when Murphy doubled to right-center field to cut the deficit to 9-5 That didn’t last long, as the Airhogs put up three runs in the fifth.
The Saints put up a four-spot in the bottom of the seventh inning thanks to hits from Zach Walters, Dante Bichette Jr., Snyder and Maggio, in addition to walks issued to Murphy and Jake Smith. Snyder’s double brought in three runs for the Saints before the inning ended on a flyout to the left fielder.
The Saints will attempt to win the series on Sunday evening when they send RHP Matt Solter to the mound. He will be opposed by RHP Gan Quan. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m.
– The Airhogs are a unique team this season, as they are primarily made up of members of the Chinese National Team. The agreement, which exempts them slightly from league transaction rules, allows 30 members of the CNT to be on the Airhogs roster, though only 10 can be active at any given time. The active players must be declared three hours before first pitch.
– The Chinese players are not subject to American Association roster rules, though the remaining 13 players who are not members of the CNT are subject to the rules, which require that when a team releases a player they must wait 10 days before re-signing them. Also, the Chinese players are not eligible to be traded to other teams in the league.