LOUISVILLE, KY (September 8, 2023) - Down the stretch the St. Paul Saints know they are going to need their bullpen to help them win games. On Friday night at Louisville Slugger Field, Austin Schulfer and Cole Sands slammed the door shut over the final four innings as the Saints
_LOUISVILLE, KY _*(September 8, 2023) - *Down the stretch the St. Paul Saints know they are going to need their bullpen to help them win games. On Friday night at Louisville Slugger Field, Austin Schulfer and Cole Sands slammed the door shut over the final four innings as the Saints hung on for a 7-6 win over the Louisville Bats. The win improves the Saints to 36-25 on the season and a franchise record 23-games over .500 on the season, 79-56.
For the third consecutive game the Saints scored first in the first. Michael Helman led off the game with a single to left and scored on Brooks Lee’s triple down the first base line making it 1-0. Trevor Larnach’s sacrifice fly increased the lead to 2-0.
The lead didn’t last long as the three Major League rehabbers at the top of the Bats order tied it up in the bottom of the inning. Jonathan India led off with a walk, moved to second on a single by Kevin Newman, and both scored on Joey Votto’s double to left tying the game at two.
In the second, the Saints plated two more runs as the bottom of the order came through. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. led off with a triple off the wall in right-center field. After a walk to Gilberto Celestino, Chris Williams made it 3-2 with an RBI single to right that sent Celestino to third. Tony Wolters drove home Celestino with an RBI single to left-center increasing the lead to 4-2.
The Saints, who have hit home runs at an incredible clip at Louisville Slugger Field, got another one in the third. Anthony Prato started the inning with a double off the wall in left. With two outs Williams walked. Tony Wolters then drilled a 3-2 pitch over the right field wall, his third of the season, putting the Saints up 7-2. It was the 26th home run of the season in 10 games in Louisville for the Saints. Wolters finished the night 2-4 with a home run, career-tying high four RBI, and a run scored.
With nobody on and two outs in the fourth, the Bats found a way to plate four runs. Back-to-back walks to Alejo Lopez and Chuckie Robinson put runners at first and second. Jacob Hurtubise doubled to right driving in a run making it 7-3. India doubled home two cutting the Saints lead to 7-5. That was followed by an RBI single from Newman making it 7-6.
After that, the offenses went silent. Schulfer allowed a leadoff single in the sixth, but got a double play and strikeout to end the inning. In the seventh, Schulfer gave up a one out single to Newman, who advanced to second on a passed ball, but a fly out and strikeout ended the inning. Schulfer went 2.0 scoreless innings allowing two hits and striking out three.
Sands tossed a perfect eighth and retired the first two hitters in the ninth before walking Jose Barrero. He stole second, but Sands got Newman, who was 3-4 up to that point, to fly out to right and end the game. Sands went 2.0 hitless, scoreless innings and picked up his second save.
The same two teams meet in game five of a six-game series on Saturday night at Louisville Slugger Field at 6:15 p.m. (CT). The Saints send RHP Bailey Ober (2-1, 2.55) to the mound against Bats RHP Christian Roa (0-4, 6.31). The game can be heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.