Before the 2018 season, right-hander Vinny Nittoli approached St. Paul Saints Manager George Tsamis looking to move into the starting rotation. If his first start was any indicator, he will be a permanent fixture in the Saints rotation. Nittoli tossed six outstanding innings, allowing only 2 hits while striking out 10 in leading St. Paul to a 5-1 victory. Max Murphy continued his hot start, driving in two and Noah Perio drove in two as well.
After neither team was able to score through the first two frames, the St. Paul Saints took the lead in the third. Josh Allen started the rally with a single through the hole in short. That brought Richard Prigatano to the plate, who roped a ball off the wall in right field for a double. Max Murphy followed with a ball into the gap in right-center that he legged out for a triple. Both runners scored and it was 2-0 St. Paul. Brady Shoemaker plated Murphy with a double in the gap in left-center and the lead was three.
In the fifth, St. Paul extended their lead. With one down, Murphy and Shoemaker received back-to-back walks. They both moved up on a wild pitch and scored when Noah Perio, Jr. delivered a clutch two out single to make it 5-0.
The was way more than enough run support for St. Paul Saints starter Vinny Nittoli (1-0) on this night. The right-hander was in complete control of this contest. The righty allowed a two out hit in the first, then retired the next nine batters before yielding a two out hit in the fourth. He would go 6-innings, allowing 2-hits and no walks.
It was the heat Nittoli brought in this game that proved to be the big story. The righty struck out the side in the first and had eight Ks through four innings. He finished with 10 strikeouts and had at least one in each of his six innings of work.
Jake Matthys came on for St. Paul in the seventh, and it did not get any easier for Chicago. The right-hander didn’t allow a base runner, and struck out two in the seventh and in the eighth innings.
In the ninth, Ryan Schlosser came on looking to finish off the shutout, but it was not to be. Matt Telesco reached on a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. Craig Maddox followed with a double down the line in right that easily scored Telesco and it was 5-1. In all, the St. Paul Saints pitching staff struck out 14 and allowed only 4-hits.
Max Murphy finished 2-3 with 2-runs and 2-RBI. Brady Shoemaker was 1-3 with a run and an RBI.
The St. Paul Saints (4-1) will look for the sweep tomorrow. Jake Esch (0-1, 27.00) looks to rebound after his first start of the season. He will be opposed by Josh Goosen-Brown (0-1, 6.75). First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier