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Getting to CHS Field

Pitching, Defense Help Saints Hold Off Railcats 2-1

ST. PAUL, MN May 19, 2017

Unlike in the first game of the season the St. Paul Saints needed to tap a little deeper into their bullpen on Friday night.  They used four different arms, and all stepped up, plus the defense threw a runner out at the plate which proved to be the difference in a 2-1 victory over the Gary SouthShore Railcats at CHS Field in front of 7,414. 

 

          The Saints pitching staff did a remarkable job, leaving a Railcat runner stranded at third three times over the final five innings.  With the game tied at one in the seventh Saints reliever Vinny Nittoli gave up a lead-off single to Andy De Jesus.  After Nittoli struck out Randy Santiesteban, Chase Harris doubled down the left field line.  Anthony Gallas raced to pick it up, hit the cutoff man Jon Kristoffersen, who fired a one hopper to catcher Tony Caldwell who tagged out De Jesus trying to score.  Nittoli went 1.2 shutout innings allowing two hits while striking out three.  Ken Frosch came on in relief with Harris at third and two outs and got Reggie Wilson to fly out to center to end the inning.

 

          The Saints used that momentum to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh when Tanner Vavra doubled off the wall in right with one out.  Danny Oh’s single to left moved Vavra to third.  Breland Almadova broke the tie with an RBI fielder’s choice.

 

          In the eighth the Railcats once again threatened against Frosch.  Anthony Cheky Jr. led off with a single to left.  Frank Martinez hit a comebacker to Frosch, but his throw to second pulled Vavra off the bag for a throwing error and it gave the Railcats runners at first and second with nobody out.  After Alex Crosby failed to get two bunts down, he would ground into a double play that moved Cheky Jr. to third.  Frosch would go 1.0 shutout inning allowing one hit.  Connor Little then came out of the bullpen to try and get the final out.  After a walk to Wilfredo Gimenez, Little got Kris Goodman to ground out to first to end the inning. 

 

          In the ninth Seth Rosin entered in the save situation and retired the first two men he faced.  Harris then singled and stole second, his third stolen base of the night.  Rosin, however, would strike out Wilson looking to end the game and pick up his second save in as many games.

 

          The Saints bullpen went 4.0 shutout innings allowing four hits and striking out five.

 

          The Railcats jumped on the board first in the first against starter Eric Veglahn.  He walked the leadoff hitter Harris, who stole second, moved to third on an infield single by Cheky Jr. and scored on an RBI fielder’s choice from Martinez.  Veglahn went 5.0 innings allowing one run on six hits while walking two and striking out three.

 

          The Saints tied it in the bottom of the second when Tony Thomas walked with one out, moved to second on Anthony Gallas’ single and scored on a double from Tony Caldwell.  Railcats starter Alex Gunn lasted 5.0 innings allowing one run on five hits while walking two and striking out two.

 

          The same two teams meet Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. in game three of the four game series.  The Saints send RHP John Straka (NR) to the mound against Railcats LHP Jeff McKenzie (NR).  It is Star Wars Night presented by Pizza Ranch.  The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twins Cities, and heard on Bob FM.