Getting to CHS Field

Saints Knock Off Top Team, Take Down Explorers 7-4

ST. PAUL, MN July 17, 2018

The first time the St. Paul Saints and Sioux City Explorers met, the Saints were blown out in two of the three games as they were swept at CHS Field.  The Saints entered Mercy Field at Lewis and Clark Park, however, as a much different team.  The Saints took the lead in the eighth and scored three insurance runs in the ninth to knock off the Explorers (40-14) 7-4 on Tuesday night.  The win improved the Saints to 32-24 on the season and they are now 4-1 on their 10-game roadtrip.


          The Saints and Explorers were tied going into the eighth and after Justin O’Conner bunted into a fielder’s choice, Dante Bichette Jr. singled him to third.  The Explorers brought in former Major League left-hander Patrick Schuster, who had a 0.60 ERA.  Nathaniel Maggio hit a cue shot toward the mound, but Schuster’s throw was too low at first and Dexter McCall couldn’t handle the throw which loaded the bases on the throwing error.  Anthony Phillips then singled to left scoring O’Conner giving the Saints a 4-3 lead.


          In the ninth the Saints scored three insurance runs off Ryan Flores who entered the game with a 1.63 ERA.  With one out Brady Shoemaker singled to center.  After a wild pitch sent pinch runner Jake Smith to second, Flores intentionally walked Zach Walters.  O’Conner was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Bichette Jr. came through with a two-run single to left making it 6-3.  Maggio followed with an RBI single to center making it 7-3.


          The lead appeared to be a comfortable one as Zack Jones came in to close it out, but the Explorers had other ideas.  After Jones struck out the first hitter, McCall doubled to right-center.  Dylan Kelly followed with a single to right moving McCall to third.  A wild pitch on ball four to Dylan Kelly scored McCall making it a three-run lead.  Jones then fanned David Kerian for the second out, but he walked Luis Durango to load the bases.  Mike Devine came in to face Michael Lang who represented the winning run. Devine struck him out to end the game and pick up his third save.


          The Saints trailed 1-0 after a solo homer by McCall in the second, his third of the season.


          The Saints put up three in the third, all with two outs.  Kyle Barrett walked and advanced to third on a throwing error on a pickoff attenmpt by the pitcher Luis Mateo.  Burt Reynolds tied the game at one with a single to left-center.  He stole second and advanced to third on a lined single by Brady Shoemaker off the glove of third baseman Daniel Jackson.  Zach Walters scored both with a double to right-center making it 3-1.


          The Explorers tied it with a run in the fourth and fifth.  In the fourth Jay Austin tripled and scored on a double by Nate Samson.


          In the fifth Jackson led off with a double and scored on a double by David Kerian.


          The Saints defense and bullpen came up huge during the night.  The defense, which leads the league in turning double plays, turned four on the night.  The bullpen also did its job.  After reliever Ryan Schlosser put two men on in the sixth, with one out, Ken Frosch came out of the bullpen and got an inning ending double play keeping the score tied at three.


          Frosch then pitched a perfect seventh to extend his season long scoreless streak to 24.2 innings, second longest in franchise history behind Caleb Thielbar’s 29.1 in 2011.


          Beck Wheeler tossed a perfect eighth and the bullpen went 4.0 innings allowing one run on three hits.


          The same two teams meet in game two of the three game series on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. at Mercy Field at Lewis and Clark Park.  The Saints send RHP Jake Matthys (4-3, 3.41) to the mound against Explorers RHP Taylor Jordan (7-1, 3.59).  The game can be heard on Alt 93.3 FM.