Keeping the St. Paul Saints from scoring in bunches has been quite an undertaking for opponents for most this season, but the Ottawa Champions Drew Cisco found a way to do it Tuesday night. The right-hander kept the Saints from seizing upon their opportunities, combining with three relievers to hold the home team to one run in the club’s 2-1 victory.
The performance was all the more impressive considering that the Saints scored first in the contest. Willie Argo singled with one out in the top of the first and, after moving to second on a ground out by Vinny DiFazio, came home on a single by Ian Gac. That made it 1-0, and would be the last time that St. Paul would be leading.
In the top of the second the Champions got that run right back against Saints starter Drew Gay. Chris Winder walked with one out and moved to second on a single by Daniel Bick. Albert Cartwright followed with a double that brought Winder home to tie the game. The inning had the potential to be a big one for Ottawa, but Gay got Roberto Ramirez to ground back to the mound to hold both runners then, after intentionally walking Sebastien Boucher, got Mike Schwartz to ground out to end the inning.
Both pitchers put up zeroes in the third and fourth innings, but in the fifth the Champions took the lead for the first time in the game. Schwartz walked with one out and moved to second on a single by Bryce Massanari. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Jon Talley struck out. The next hitter was Alex Nunez, who delivered a clutch single to left field that brought Schwartz home. Massanari attempted to score on the play as well, but Argo’s throw to the plate nailed the Ottawa runner to keep it a one-run game.
Cisco pitched extremely well after giving up the run in the first. He let his defense make plays for him and that is exactly what they did. The right-hander was pulled after five innings. Cisco (2-3) allowed 6 hits, a walk and a single run. He did not strike out a batter.
Laetten Galbraith came in for Ottawa in the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings for the Champions. Nick Purdy pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out the side, and Alan DeRatt come on in the ninth to close it out. He gave up a lead-off single to Joey Paciorek, but struck out two of the final three batters of the game for his 10th save of the season.
Gay (1-1) took the loss despite pitching quite well. He went 6 innings, allowing 7 hits and 5 walks. Both runs against him were earned and he struck out 4.
Argo went 2-3 in the loss with a run scored and a walk. Gac was 2-4 with the club’s only RBI. Angelo Songco had 3 hits in 4 trips to the plate.
By Robert Pannier