Matt Solter would earn a n0-decision on Friday night, but still played a significant role in the St. Paul Saints 2-1 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries. Solter and two relievers combined to smother the Canaries bats, allowing just two total hits in the one run victory. An error allowed the deciding run to score after Sioux Falls had tied the game, and Tom Wilhelmsen closed out the contest for his fifth win of the season.
After Sioux Falls was kept off the board in the top of the first, the St. Paul Saints would grab the lead in the bottom half of the inning. The red-hot Josh Allen led off the frame with a double into left field. It looked like he would remain there, but Brady Shoemaker delivered a clutch two out base hit to right field, defeating the shift to give St. Paul the 1-0 lead.
It looked like that would hold up, as Solter followed up his six inning no-hit outing against Cleburne last Sunday by no hitting the Canaries for the first 4.1 innings of this ballgame. It would be a one-out single by Tyler Wolfe that would give Sioux Falls their first and only hit against the Saints starter on this night.
The right-hander would go six innings, allowing just three baserunners, but an error to begin the seventh would cost him his victory. Burt Reynolds reached when the Saints third baseman could not handle the ground ball, and moved to second when Jordan Smith followed with a walk. A hit by pitch loaded the bases with no one out and that would bring a call to the bullpen.
Back Wheeler came on and struck out Mike Hart before giving up a shallow base hit to former Saints catcher Maxx Garrett to tie the score. It looked like Sioux Falls would have a chance to take the lead when Dan Motl hit a ball into left field that was caught by Richard Prigatano. Wolfe tagged looking to score, but a great throw by Prigatano nailed the runner at the plate for the double-play to end the threat.
In the bottom half of the inning, St. Paul retook the lead. Max Murphy walked with one out and two batters later Shoemaker would walk. With first and second and two down, Boyd hit a ball to the shortstop who booted it. Murphy came around to score and the Saints were back on top, 2-1.
Wheeler returned in the eighth, retiring the Canaries in order. In the ninth, Tom Wilhelmsen came out to close out the contest. He struck out two of the final three batters he faced for his fifth save of the season.
The loss wasted an outstanding outing from Cesilio Pimentel, who allowed just one earned run in 5.2 innings pitched. Kyle Schepel took the loss and Beck Wheeler (3-1) earned the victory.
Despite earning the no-decision, Matt Solter has been absolutely brilliant this season. In four starts, he has tossed 25.2 innings, allowing 19 hits and only 4-earned runs.
St. Paul Saints manager George Tsamis earned win number 998 as a manager with the victory.
These two teams will battle it out again on Saturday evening. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05. RHP Eddie Medina will go for the St. Paul Saints.
By Robert Pannier