The last time Jake Esch took the mound for the Saints it was nothing short of a disaster. His opening day start in Gary lasted just 1.2 innings and he gave up seven hits and eight runs.
His second start of the season was the complete opposite, as he lasted 6.2 innings, giving up three runs and recording eight strikeouts as the Saints picked up a 5-3 win over the Chicago Dogs to sweep the series.
Justin O’Conner netted the Saints their first hit of the game in the third inning and later would score on a double from Kes Carter to put the Saints on the board. The Dogs tied the game in the top of the fifth inning when Josh Goosen-Brown drew a leadoff walk and came around to score on a single from Joe Benson.
Goosen-Brown also pitched for the Dogs, going 5.2 innings giving up five runs and striking out four batters. Two of those runs came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Dante Bichette Jr. led off with an infield single. O’Conner followed up with a home run to left field to put the Saints back in the lead, which they wouldn’t surrender.
They added two more runs in the sixth on three hits and one error, which came on a Noah Perio Jr. ground ball to third base that was misplayed by Matt Dean. Perio would come around to score on a single from O’Conner to extend the Saints lead.
Chicago started a rally in the top of the seventh inning when Michael Baca hit a two-out single to left field to set up Benson for a home run to left field. Unfortunately for the Dogs, they were unable to add additional runs, as they went down quietly in the eighth and in order in the ninth.
The Saints now get a much-needed off day before hosting the Gary Southshore Railcats this weekend at CHS Field. The series will get underway on Friday at 7:05 p.m. when the Saints send Eddie Medina to the mound. The Railcats haven’t announced their starters for the series yet.
-There was a scary scene in Sioux Falls on Tuesday night when Sioux City infielder Nelson Ward left the game after running into the wall at Sioux Falls Stadium. Explorers manager Steve Montgomery confirmed to Rob Pannier of the Minor League Sports Report that Ward suffered a broken kneecap and underwent successful surgery on Wednesday.
-The Saints are perfect this season in stolen base attempts, a number that was extended to seven in the seventh when Max Murphy stole second base. Murphy now has three of those stolen bases, tying him for the team lead with Richard Prigtano. Kes Carter has the other stolen base this season.
– The Saints maintained their lead in the North Division over the Winnipeg Goldeyes, who defeated the Texas Airhogs 10-2 on Wednesday afternoon. They extended their lead over third-place Fargo-Moorhead, who lost to Cleburne 10-8.