Robert Coe was the starting cartcher for the UW-Whitewater Warhawks before graduating in 2011.
ST. PAUL, MN - Robert Coe signed with the St. Paul Saints in 2011 fresh out of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater having pitched just 12.1 innings in his college career. On Friday night at CHS Field he became the all-time winningest pitcher in franchise history, surpassing Charlie Ruud (2005-09), winning his 41st game, as the Saints took down the Sioux Falls Canaries 6-3 in front of 8,434. Nate Hanson, a night after returning to action for the first time since having a baby and tying a career high with five RBI, drove in five again. The Saints improved to 53-24 on the season, maintained a 7.5 game lead in the North and a 10.5 game lead to clinch a playoff berth with 23 games left and have a 5.0 game lead for best record in the American Association.
Coe looked like he was ready to take history head on carving up the Canaries through the first three innings allowing just one base runner, a one out walk to Aaron Owen in the third.
In the fourth, with the Saints up 4-0, he ran into a little trouble. Darwin Perez singled to left-center and Blake Schmit doubled him to third. After a strikeout to David Bergin, Coe walked J.C. Linares to load the bases. Coe, however, would strike out Cameron Monger and needed just one out to end the inning. Unfortunately, B.J. Guinn singled home two, cutting the lead in half at 4-2.
In the sixth Coe would walk Linares and, with one out, walk his fifth batter of the night, Guinn. Coe departed after throwing 101 pitches and handed the ball off to Caleb Thielbar. It would take three pitches for Thielbar to get out of the inning, with a double play, and assure Coe could be the pitcher of record. Coe would go 5.1 innings allowing two runs on five hits while walking five and striking out six, leaving him 15 strikeouts shy of the franchise record of 318 set by Ruud.
In the ninth, with the Saints leading 6-2, Ryan Rodebaugh, who leads the league in saves, came into the game in a non-save situation. With one out Ethan Chapman singled, move to second on defensive indifference and took third on a two out infield single by Schmit. Bergin’s grounder to short was thrown into the dirt by Tony Thomas allowing a run to score and sending the tying run to the plate. Rodebaugh assured Coe of the record by striking out Linares looking to end the game.
Coe’s first win in a Saints uniform came as a reliever on August 1st in Sioux Falls against the Canaries. He would win his first ever start that season on August 25, finishing the season with three victories. In 2012 he was named American Association Rookie of the Year, winning 12 games, and following the season was rated the eighth best prospect in Independent Baseball by Baseball America.
After a season in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization in 2013, Coe returned to St. Paul in 2014 and added five wins to his resume. Last season he tied his career high with 12 victories and on Friday night, he earned his ninth win of 2016.
The Saints jumped out to a 3-0 lead courtesy of Hanson. Brady Burzynski led off with a walk and Breland Almadova singled him to second. With one out Alonzo Harris reached on an error by the first baseman Bergin. Hanson then roped a bases clearing double to right-center to put the Saints on top.
In the third Hanson slugged his second home run in as many nights, a solo blast to left, his seventh of the season, to make it 4-0.
With the Saints up 4-2 in the sixth Almadova pulled off an incredible feat. He singled to left and then stole second. On ball four to Harris, Almadova stole third. Then Harris attempted to steal second, the catcher Mike Falsetti threw down to second, Almadova broke for home and slid in ahead of the throw, completing three stolen bases in one inning, giving the Saints a 5-1 lead. Hanson then singled off the glove of the shortstop Schmit scoring Harris to make it 6-1. Hanson finished the night 4-4, falling a triple shy of the cycle, with five RBI and a run scored. In his first two games back since becoming a Dad, Hanson is 7-8 with two doubles, two home runs, 10 RBI and three runs scored.
The same two teams play game three of their four game series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send RHP Dan Johnson (3-2, 4.13) to the mound against Canaries LHP Kris Regas (4-6, 5.56). It's Live from St. Paul, It's Saturday Night! The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in the Twin Cities, and heard on BOB FM.