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Getting to CHS Field

Offense Remembers the First, Belzer Gets His First As Saints Take Down X's 8-1

ST. PAUL, MN May 24, 2019

It was as if a week’s worth of frustration came out all at once for the St. Paul Saints offense.  A team that had been 1-22 with runners in scoring position and two outs in the first seven games turned the tide on Friday night at CHS Field.  Starter Nick Belzer was the recipient earning his first professional win as the Saints offense did most of the damage in the first inning and defeated the Sioux City Explorers 8-1 in front of 6,673.  The win improved the Saints to 5-3 on the season.

          Before the seats were even warm in the ballpark the Saints offense did something they hadn’t done all season: come up with big hits with runners in scoring position and two outs.  It started before that though, when Chesny Young, who had six career homers in 512 games, slugged a one out solo homer that tipped off the top of the wall and landed in the Saints bullpen to put his team up 1-0.  With two outs the Saints’ bats got hot with seven consecutive hits.  It started with a Burt Reynolds double to left.  He finished the game 3-4 with two doubles and a run scored.  Devon Rodriguez made it 2-0 with a ground rule double down the left field line.  Blake Schmit gave the Saints a 3-0 lead with an RBI single to left.  The hit extended his hitting streak to seven games.  Jeremy Martinez deposited a two-run homer to left, his second of the season, putting the Saints in front 5-0.  Joey Wong ripped a double to right and Dan Motl reached on an infield single to third.  Motl stole second and Josh Allen finished the scoring with a two-run single to left making it 7-0.  The Saints entered the game hitting .045 with runners in scoring position and two outs and were 4-4 in such situations in the first.

          That was more than enough for starter Nick Belzer who was making his second professional start.  Coming off a 4.0 inning one run outing in his debut, Belzer was even stronger on Friday, but not without some help from his defense.  After retiring six of the first seven he faced, the third baseman Young made a diving play at third on a grounder by Dylan Kelly to start the third inning.  Young short hopped a throw to first that Rodriguez picked for the first out of the inning. 

          In the fourth Nate Samson hit a sinking fly ball to left-center that Motl made a diving play on for the first out of the inning. 

          In the fifth shortstop Joey Wong started the inning by robbing Nelson Ward of a base hit when Wong dove to his left on a ground ball and threw out Nelson at first.  Belzer did the rest going 6.0 shutout innings allowing three hits while walking one and striking out two.

          In the seventh the Saints picked up their eighth run when Brady Shoemaker led off with a single to left-center.  With two outs, and Shoemaker at second, Schmit singled up the middle scoring Shoemaker to make it 8-0.  Overall, the Saints went 5-7 with runners in scoring position and two outs.  Their 14 hits were a season high.

          The same two teams meet in game two of the three game series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.  The Saints send RHP Spencer Jones (NR) to the mound against Explorers RHP Eric Karch (0-1, 13.50).  It is Dog Day presented by Chuck & Don’s.  The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM and seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Citi