The St. Paul Saints opened up their 2018 season by winning two of three against the Gary SouthShore RailCats. This was the third straight season that the Saints opened up against the RailCats.
The season got underway on Friday night and resulted in a 10-5 win for Gary. The Saints were led by Noah Perio Jr., who went 1-for-3 with two runs scored. Kes Carter contributed three hits and three runs batted in for the Saints.
Jake Esch got the opening day start for the Saints. The St. Paul native got roughed up, only pitching 1.2 innings, giving up seven hits and eight runs, with five of them being earned. He was replaced by South St. Paul native Ryan Schlosser, who threw 3.1 innings, only allowing four hits and two runs while recording one strikeout.
The Saints picked up their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, defeating the RailCats 8-3, thanks to collecting 16 hits. Brady Shoemaker, Max Murphy, Perio and Dante Bichette Jr. each collected three hits, with Shoemaker also getting three runs batted in.
The Saints pitching staff fared much better, as starter Eddie Medina threw five innings, giving up six hits and three runs while striking out two batters. After a variety of pitchers threw the middle innings, Tom Wilhelmsen came in and pitched the ninth. Wilhelmsen will be used this season as the Saints’ closer. The former big leaguer only walked one batter in his debut appearance.
On Sunday afternoon the Saints led 3-2 heading into the ninth inning, but Wilhelmsen gave up the game-tying run. It started when D.K. Carey was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Reggie Wilson singled to left field, allowing Carey to reach third. He scored when John Price Jr. hit a sacrifice fly to right field.
The game was still tied at three after the 10th inning, but the Saints were able to pull ahead in the 11th, as Prigatano advanced to first after a single, advanced when Murphy sacrifice bunted and scored when Shoemaker singled. The RailCats were unable to muster any comeback in the bottom of the inning and the Saints escaped with a 2-1 record. This is the 17th consecutive season that the Saints have won their season-opening series.
The Saints will come marching back into CHS Field on Monday afternoon when they host the American Association’s newest team the Chicago Dogs. That will kick off a six-game homestand that will see the Saints face the RailCats once again.
The Dogs will enter the series with a 1-2 record after facing Sioux Falls. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. The Saints will send Matt Solter to the mound, while the Dogs have yet to announce who they will put on the mound.