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Getting to CHS Field

All Bark And Even More Bite, Nittoli Dazzles In First Pro Start With 10 K's In Saints 5-1 Win Over Dogs

ST. PAUL, MN May 22, 2018

Vinny Nittoli pitched at the back end of the bullpen for the St. Paul Saints in 2017.  He had pitched in 93 professional games, all out of relief.  During the off-season he readied himself to become a starter and for his opening act he fanned a career high 10, allowed two-hits as the Saints beat the Chicago Dogs 5-1 on Tuesday night at CHS Field in front of 7,213.  It was the Saints fourth straight win and they improved to 4-1 on the season.


          The 27-year-old came out firing in the first inning fanning the first two hitters he faced.  The only trouble he ran into in his 6.0 innings of work came in the first after Craig Maddox reached on a throwing error by second baseman Josh Allen and Wilfedo Rodriguez singled him to third.  That’s when Nittoli recorded his third strikeout, getting Treyson Vavra to end the inning.


          Nittoli would allow just two more base runners, a hit batter to lead off the second and a two-out single to Joe Benson in the fourth.  Nittoli struck out at least one in each inning he pitched, including two in the third and fourth.  He finished the night hurling 6.0 shutout innings allowing two hits while striking out 10 without walking a batter.  The last pitcher to strike out at least 10 in a game was the 11 by Mark Hamburger on July 8, 2017 at Fargo-Moorhead.  Nittoli’s previous high in strikeouts was four, which he had done five times.


          The Saints got Nittoli all the offense he needed in the third with four consecutive hits producing three runs.  Allen reached on a one out single to left.  Richard Prigatano followed with a double to right sending Allen to third.  Max Murphy came through with a two-run triple to right-center giving the Saints a 2-0 lead.  Brady Shoemaker made it 3-0 with an RBI double.


          In the fifth the Saints tacked on two insurance runs when Murphy and Shoemaker drew back-to-back walks.  After a wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third, Noah Perio Jr. came through with a two-run single to make it 5-0 and extend his hitting streak to five games.


          Saints reliever Jake Matthys picked up where Nittoli left off and pitched 2.0 perfect innings while striking out four.  The 14 strikeouts by the Saints were the most since they fanned 16 on June 2, 2014 at Quebec.


          The same two teams meet in the finale of the three-game series on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. at CHS Field.  The Saints send RHP Jake Esch (0-1, 27.00) to the mound against Dogs RHP Josh Goosen-Brown (0-1, 6.75).  It is Military Appreciation Night.  The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities, and heard on Alt 93.3 FM.