Looking to stay alive in the Wild Card race, the St. Paul Saints turned to Ryan Zimmerman to contain the Wichita Wingnuts bats, and he delivered one of his best outings of the season, blanking the visitors through the first six frames in the Saints 5-1 victory. Nate Hanson had 2-RBI in the game, helping St. Paul to take three of four from the South Division champs.
This game was rolling through the first three innings, as both pitchers were on their game. Ryan Zimmerman allowed one walk through the first three frames. Alex Boshers allowed two hits in each of the first two innings, but he got out of both frames unscathed and then tossed a perfect third.
In the fourth, the St. Paul Saints would finally break through. Nate Hanson was hit by a pitch to start the inning and scored when Mitch Delfino lined a triple down the line in right field. Delfino scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
An inning later, the Saints took a commanding lead. Tim Colwell laid down a bunt to start the frame and beat it out for a base hit. The throw from the third baseman was wild, allowing Colwell to take second on the throw. Two batters later, Brady Shoemaker walked to put two on. That brought Dan Johnson to the plate, who lined a double over the head of the Wingnuts right fielder and off the wall for a double. Colwell scored on the play to make it 3-0 with Shoemaker taking third. Hanson then singled into left field, plating both runners to make it 5-0.
Zimmerman cruised through the first five, not finding himself in any trouble until the sixth when he masterfully got out of a jam. The Saints right-hander gave up two singles and an error loaded the bases with two down for the pitcher’s spot. In a mistake made by the Wichita coaching staff, both Martin Medina and Zac Fisher were listed as catching on the scorecard turned into the umpire. Alex Boshers had to bat as a result, and Eddie Medina pinch hit for him with the bases loaded. He grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
In the eighth, Wichita would finally get on the board and chase Zimmerman from the game. Christian Stringer led off the inning with a base hit and moved to second on a single by Martin Medina. A base hit by Brent Clevlen scored Stringer to make it 5-1. That would be it for Ryan Zimmerman (7-6). He went 7-plus innings, allowing 7-hits, 2-walks, and a run. He struck out 6.
Ken Frosch came in and walked T.J. Mittelstaedt to load the bases and there was still no one out. Manager George Tsamis called on Vinny Nittoli, who was brilliant, striking out the side, leaving the bases loaded to close out the inning. Nittoli would return for the ninth and retired the side in order for his third save of the season.
Dan Johnson finished 2-3 with a run, an RBI, and a walk. Nate Hanson was 1-3 with a run and 2-RBI, and Mitch Delfino was 3-4 with a run and an RBI. The Wichita Wingnuts were led by Martin Medina, who was 2-3.
The St. Paul Saints head to the road to take on the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks starting Friday night. The Wichita Wingnuts return home to take on the Texas AirHogs starting Friday.
By Robert Pannier