Saints Battle Back to Down RailCats, 4-2
GARY, IN (June 16, 2019) – The St. Paul Saints pitching staff is running on fumes these days. They needed a solid start out of Ryan Zimmerman and he delivered striking out a career tying high seven. The offense took a while to get going, but when they did the bottom of the order came through with some clutch hits. In the process the Saints took down the Gary SouthShore RailCats 4-2 at the U.S. Steel Yard on Sunday afternoon. The Saints won their seventh series of the season and are now 7-1-1 in their nine series’ this year and improved to a league best 19-9.
Zimmerman struck out the first two hitters he faced and then walked the next two in the first. He fanned Andy DeJesus to end the inning, but with a tired bullpen, Zimmerman threw 30 pitches in the first inning.
He settled down form there and gave up just a single in the third and fourth inning as the teams were scoreless through four.
In the fifth, however, the leagues leading hitter, Tom Walraven, drilled a solo homer down the left field line off Zimmerman to give the RailCats a 1-0 lead. Zimmerman went 5.1 innings allowing one run on three hits while walking three and striking out seven.
The RailCats meanwhile went with an opener, Nick Floyd, who was making his professional debut. He retired all six men he faced before lefty Lars Liguori took over. The Saints couldn’t do much against him until the seventh.
The Saints had just four hits through the first six innings, but they matched that total in the seventh. Jeremy Martinez led off with a single to center, extending his streak of reaching base safely to 22 games. With one out Josh Allen doubled down the third base line to put runners at second and third. Chesny Young, who had seven RBI on the season, six of them without a hit, came through with an RBI single to left tying the game at one. Joey Wong then laid down a squeeze to first that Chase Dawson couldn’t handle allowing Allen to score and giving the Saints a 2-1 lead.
In the eighth the Saints added two more as Dan Motl led off with an infield single to short. He finished the game 3-5 with a run scored. Blake Schmit’s bunt single put runners at first and second. Burt Reynolds then sacrificed the runners over and Martinez walked to load the bases. Devon Rodriguez came through with a two-run single to right giving the Saints a 4-1 lead.
The Saints bullpen was strong with Jordan Jess earning the win by throwing 1.1 scoreless innings and Landon Beck tossing the same. In the ninth, however, Todd Van Steensel gutted out his eighth save of the season. Andy DeJesus led off with a single to right-center and Danny De La Calle walked. Ray Jones grounded to first that moved the runners up and Dawson walked to load the bases. Van Steensel was able to strike out Walraven, but walked Evan Marzilli to force in a run. Pinch hitter Marcus Mooney would hit a ground ball to Young at third and he stepped on the bag to end the game.
The Saints now head to Sioux Falls Stadium to face the top team in the South Division, the Sioux Falls Canaries, in a four game series. The first game of the series is Monday night at 7:05 p.m. and the Saints send RHP Dustin Crenshaw (2-2, 3.62) to the mound against Canaries LHP Spencer Hermann (0-0, 5.14). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson