Last season, Eddie Medina established himself as one of the best starting pitchers in the American Association, going 9-3 with a 3.08 ERA for the Wichita Wingnuts. Two starts into his St. Paul Saints career, the right-hander has picked up where he left off last year, winning his first game of the season by blanking the Gary Southshore RailCats for 7-innings in the 5-0 victory. Dante Bichette, Jr. drove in two runs and Kes Carter added his second homer of the season for St. Paul.
The St. Paul Saints would grab the lead early, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning. With one down, Max Murphy doubled into center and scored when Jayce Boyd delivered a two-out single to left to make it 1-0.
It would stay that way until the fourth, when the Saints would add to their lead. Boyd led off with a single the left and moved to third when Noah Perio, Jr. found the gap in right-center, turning his hit into a double. With runners at second and third, Dante Bichette, Jr. lined a single up the middle that scored both runners and the lead was three.
An inning later the lead became four. Murphy led off the frame with a deep drive into right-center that rolled all the way to the wall. He raced into third with a triple and scored when Brady Shoemaker followed with a base hit to left field.
In the sixth, St. Paul would add one more insurance run. Lars Liguori retired the first two batters of the inning, but Josh Allen kept alive with a single into center field. He stole second and scored on a Richard Prigatano base hit to center to make it 5-0.
That was far more than enough support for Eddie Medina (1-0) on this night. The right-hander scattered 6-hits over 7-innings of work. He gave up back-to-back singles to start out the game before inducing a double play to end the threat. That started a run of 12 batters retired out of 13 that he faced, with the lone batter reaching on a single and he was later thrown out trying to steal seond.
In the top of the sixth, Medina yielded back-to-back singles to start the frame, but once again used the double-play to get himself out of trouble. The Saints starter went three batters over the minimum while striking out 4.
Ken Frosch came on in the eighth and tossed a scoreless frame, his fifth appearance this season without yielding a run. Tom Wilhelmsen came on in the ninth to finish off the first shutout of the season for the St. Paul Saints.
Max Murphy finished 2-4 with 2-runs scored and Dante Bichette was 1-4 with 2-RBI. Both Jayce Boyd and Noah Perio, Jr. had 2- hits apiece for the St. Paul Saints. Alex Crosby and Cole Fabio both had 2-hits for the Gary Southshore RailCats.
These two teams will continue their three-game set on Saturday. The St. Paul Saints will send Jeff Malm (0-0, 1.50) to the hill. He will be opposed by Jeff McKenzie (1-0, 1.50). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier