Getting to CHS Field

From Nearly No-Hit to 3-0 Victory In 11 For Saints

ST. PAUL, MN May 29, 2018

It took the St. Paul Saints 5.2 innings before they collected their first hit, a bunt single by Richard Prigatano.  The pitching staff made sure that the offense could finally get in gear as the Saints scored three in the 11th and dropped the Texas AirHogs 3-0 in 11 innings on Tuesday night at AirHogs Stadium.  The win improved the Saints to 8-3 and 2-0 on their 10-game roadtrip.


          With the game scoreless in the 11th Jayce Boyd walked with one out.  Boyd then took off and the pitch was in the dirt allowing him to steal second.  The throw sailed into center, Boyd got up and scampered to third just ahead of the throw.  That allowed Dante Bichette Jr., who had the game winning RBI on Monday, to hit a grounder in the hole at short, which was fielded by Chen Chen, but his high arcing throw to first wasn’t nearly in time and Boyd scored giving the Saints a 1-0 lead.  Kes Carter followed with a double to right moving Bichette Jr. to third.  Justin O’Conner, who struck out with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, came through with a two-run single to make it 3-0.


          The game only went to extra innings because of an incredible play in the bottom of the ninth by Noah Perio Jr. at short.  Dillon Thomas led off the inning by walking.  He stole second and Mike Devine intentionally walked Stewart Ijames.  Casio Grider’s ground out to third moved the runners up and the Saints intentionally walked Chu Fuija.  That brought up the .097 hitting Meng Weiqiang.  He hit a sharp liner to the left of Perio Jr. who dove, nearly caught the liner, had the ball ricocheted off his glove and go a foot behind him.  Perio Jr. lunged for the ball, threw to second from the seat of his pants to get Fuija and second baseman Josh Allen’s relay throw to first was just in time to get Weiqiang.


          The Saints had their own opportunity in the top of the ninth when Boyd walked with one out.  He moved to second on a single from Perio Jr. and, with two outs, a wild pitch moved them both up.  After Kes Carter walked, O’Conner had a chance to give the Saints the lead, but he struck out to end the inning.


          Both starters were spectacular, but AirHogs starter Miguel Rosario carried a no-hitter into the sixth.  The lone base runner the Saints got off of him was when Allen was hit by a pitch in the third with two outs.  In the sixth with two outs Prigatano dropped down a perfect bunt, with the third baseman Ijames playing back, for an infield single to break up the no-hitter.  Rosario went 7.0 innings allowing one hit while walking one and striking out five.


          Not to be outdone was Saints starter Matt Solter who was just as good.  He gave up a one out double to Grider in the second and he advanced to third on a groundout.  Solter struck out Weiqiang to end the inning.


          In the fourth Dillon Thomas doubled with one out, moved to third on a groundout, but Solter got Grider to fly out to center. 


          The last bit of trouble Solter ran into came in the seventh when Grider reached on a two out infield single to third.  Fuija’s single to left moved Grider to third, but Solter once again struck out Weiqiang to end the inning.  Solter went 7.0 shutout innings allowing four hits while striking out seven.


          Mike Devine and Beck Wheeler each pitched 2.0 scoreless innings with Wheeler striking out four and earning the win.  The Saints bullpen has not allowed a run in 15.1 innings.


          The same two teams meet in game three of the four game series on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.  The Saints send RHP Eddie Medina (1-0, 1.50) to the mound against AirHogs RHP Meng Weiqiang (0-2, 1.59).  The game can be heard on Alt 93.3 FM.