The St. Paul Saints had to be thinking it was going to be a repeat of Friday night’s 10-5 loss to the Gary Southshore RailCats when they gave up three runs in the first, but that would be all the runs they would allow, as the Saints scored eight unanswered runs to even their record at 1-1. Brady Shoemaker helped lead the comeback, driving in three, and four different players in the lineup recorded three hits in the 16-hit attack.
The RailCats got off to a great start, plating three runs in the bottom of the first against Eddie Medina, making his first start since joining St. Paul. Alex Crosby led off the inning with a double before Randy Santiesteban was hit by a pitch. That brought Garrett Copeland to the plate, who lined a double into right field that scored Crosby to make it 1-0. Colin Willis then grounded out to second, scoring Santiesteban, and Copeland came home on an error by the catcher to make it 3-0.
The Saints would get one of those runs back in the top of the second. Noah Perio, Jr. led off the frame with a single and moved to third when Dante Bichette, Jr. followed with a single. A sacrifice fly by Justin O’Conner scored Perio and it was 3-1.
In the third, St. Paul cut the deficit to one. Josh Allen started the inning by hitting a ground ball to the shortstop that he legged out for a single. A ground out moved him to second and Allen reached third on a base hit by Max Murphy. Brady Shoemaker then drove in his first run of the night with a ground out to make it 3-2.
In the fourth, the St. Paul Saints would tie the score. For the second time in the game, Perio started the inning with a single and moved to third on a base hit by Bichette. O’Conner then drove in his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly and the game was tied at three.
After giving up the three runs in the first, Medina was absolutely brilliant. He held Gary Southshore to just three hits over the next four innings, keeping his team in the game so they could rally.
That proved to be huge as the Saints would take the lead in the seventh. With one down, Richard Prigatano and Max Murphy delivered back-to-back singles. Prigatano then stole third before Shoemaker walked to load the bases. That brought Jayce Boyd to the plate, who lined a single into left that scored both Prigatano and Murphy. Perio followed by beating out a ground ball to third for a single. Shoemaker scored on the play and the St. Paul Saints were on top 6-3.
In the eighth, St. Paul extended their lead to five. Allen walked with one down and Prigatano followed by beating out a ball hit to short for a single. Murphy then singled to load the bases, and Shoemaker followed by grounding a hit up the middle that scored Allen and Prigatano. That made it 8-3.
Beck Wheeler (1-0) came on in the sixth for St. Paul and tossed two scoreless frames to earn the victory. Ken Frosch, Mike Devine, and Tom Wilhelmsen combined to finish the final two frames to preserve the victory.
Max Murphy, Brady Shoemaker, Noah Perio, Jr. and Dante Bichette, Jr. each had 3-hits for the St. Paul Saints. Perio scored 2-runs and Shoemaker scored a run and drove in 3. Boyd and O’Conner each had 2-RBI. Garrett Copeland was a perfect 4-4 with a run and an RBI for the RailCats.
These two teams will finish off their three-game series tomorrow. The Saints send LHP Jeff Malm to the mound against Railcats RHP Chuck Weaver. Game time is 2:10.
By Robert Pannier