Solter, Saints Skim Sioux Falls, 3-1
ST. PAUL, MN (August 7, 2020) – The St. Paul Saints had already played three games at CHS Field before their match-up with the Sioux Falls Canaries. Friday night was the first time the two teams met in Lowertown, Saint Paul, however, after the first 12 games were in Sioux Falls Stadium as the teams shared a ballpark for the first month of the season. The Canaries found out what it was like to have the fans not rooting for them. The Saints used the arm of starting pitcher Matt Solter, their defense, and some timely hitting late in the game for a 3-1 victory on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 1,500.
The turning point in the game came in the seventh with the game tied at one. Solter, who was magnificent all night long, got help from his defense. Clint Coulter led off the inning with a double to right-center. Roy Morales followed with a single to right and Max Murphy’s throw went home. Morales took too big of a turn at first and catcher Chris Chinea fired down to first as John Silviano tagged Morales out as he tried to get back to the bag. Andrew Ely then sent a fly ball to left that Alonzo Harris caught and came up throwing to the plate as Coulter tried to tag up. The throw was perfect and in plenty of time to nail Coulter at the plate and keep the game tied at one.
With the crowd into it, the Saints used that momentum in the bottom of the inning as Chinea led off the inning with a single to right. Allen drilled a one hop double off the wall in right-center that scored Chinea to give the Saints a 2-1 lead as Allen took third on the throw home. Allen finished the night 3-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. Chesny Young made it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly to right.
Solter, who entered the night 10th in the league in ERA, was brilliant allowing just two base runners to reach second through the first five innings. Meanwhile, his slider was working, and the Canaries were swinging and missing all night long.
The Saints gave Solter a 1-0 lead in the second when Allen reached on a one out infield single to third and advanced to second on the throwing error. With two outs, John Silviano ripped a single away from the shift on the left side to knock home Allen.
Solter’s only hiccup came in the sixth when Alay Lago ripped a one out double down the right field line. Damek Tomscha followed with an RBI double to right-center tying the game at one. Solter went 7.0 innings allowing one run on nine hits while walking one and striking out nine.
The bullpen did the rest retiring the final six hitters as Brian Glowicki pitched a perfect eighth and Jameson McGrane picked up his ninth save of the season with a perfect ninth while striking out two.
The same two teams meet in game two of the three-game series on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at CHS Field. The Saints send RHP Nick Belzer (1-2, 2.52) to the mound against Canaries RHP Tyler Danish (0-0, 0.00). The game can be seen on the Saints Cable Network, cable access channels in and around the Twin Cities, streamed at aabaseball.tv, and heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
By Sean Aronson, St. Paul Saints