\DES MOINES, IA (September 14, 2023) - With his slider, Randy Dobnak is known more for getting groundballs than strikeouts. On Thursday afternoon at Principal Park, however, Dobnak fanned five as he set the St. Paul Saints single-season strikeout mark. Unfortunately for the Saints, it came in a 9-3 loss
_DES MOINES, IA _*(September 14, 2023) - *With his slider, Randy Dobnak is known more for getting groundballs than strikeouts. On Thursday afternoon at Principal Park, however, Dobnak fanned five as he set the St. Paul Saints single-season strikeout mark. Unfortunately for the Saints, it came in a 9-3 loss to the Iowa Cubs. The loss drops the Saints to 37-29 in the second half.
For the first time in eight games the Saints failed to get on the board in the first, but the I-Cubs did. With one out Jared Young walked and that was followed by a two-run homer from Matt Mervis, his 20th of the season, making it 2-0.
Jair Camargo got one of the two runs back as he blasted a solo homer to left-center in the second, his 19th of the season, making it 2-1.
In the bottom of the second, however, the I-Cubs regained their two-run lead. Luis Vasquez led off with a double and scored on a single from Darius Hill increasing the lead to 3-1.
Dobnak, who entered the day three shy of breaking the strikeout record, fanned one in the first and then broke the record in the third. With one out he struck out the reigning International League Player of the Week, Young, to tie Ronny Henriquez’ 2022 mark of 106. After a double by Mervis, Dobnak fanned David Bote on a fastball to become the single-season strikeout leader in franchise history with 107. Dobnak would go on to strikeout one more on the day.
Unfortunately for Dobnak, the rest of the day didn’t go as planned. A walk came back to hurt him in the fourth inning. With one out Vazquez walked, stole second, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on a two-out single by Brennan Davis giving the I-Cubs a 4-1 lead.
Another two-out run for the I-Cubs helped add to their lead in the fifth. With two outs Mervis roped a double to right and that was followed by an RBI double from Bote making it 5-1.
The I-Cubs plated another two out run in the sixth. With a runner at first and two outs, Cole Roederer singled and that was the end of the day for Dobnak. Austin Brice came out of the bullpen and gave up an RBI single to Yonathan Perlaza increasing the lead to 6-1.
Brooks Lee helped the Saints get to within four in the seventh. With two outs and Michael Helman on at first after reaching on a fielder’s choice, Lee ripped an RBI double to center cutting the deficit to 6-2.
The I-Cubs put the game away in the eighth by scoring three runs on just one hit. Mervis led off the inning by reaching on a hit by pitch and Bote followed with a walk. Bryce Windham moved them over with a sacrifice bunt and Vazquez’ sac fly made it 7-2. After a walk to Darius Hill, the Saints made a pitching change as Carlos Luna replaced Brice. Davis made it 8-2 with an RBI single, and back-to-back walks forced in a run making it 9-2.
In the eighth, the Saints scored a run when they loaded the bases with one out on back-to-back singles by Camargo and Gilberto Celestino, and a walk to Hernán Pérez. Chris Williams’ sacrifice fly made it 9-3. Camargo finished the day 3-4 with a home run, RBI, and two runs scored.
The same two teams meet in game four of a six-game series on Friday night at 7:08 p.m. at Principal Park. The Saints send RHP Blayne Enlow (2-5, 8.01) to the mound against I-Cubs LHP Stephen Gonsalves (0-0, 5.25). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.