Seven shutout innings from St. Paul starter Jake Esch was enough to propel the Saints to a 2-0 win over the Wichita Wingnuts on Tuesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
Esch (2-1) struck out a career-high ten hitters, punching out multiple Wingnuts in four different frames. Wichita’s best threat against him came in the sixth, when the Wingnuts (10-8) loaded the bases with one out. John Nester then hit a soft line drive back up the middle that Saints second baseman Josh Allen speared on a dive to start an inning-ending double play.
What little run support Esch needed came courtesy of an RBI groundout from Noah Perio Jr. in the top of the first against Wichita starter Jared Wilson (0-1). Wilson exited the game after just one and two-thirds innings with an apparent injury.
The Wingnuts bullpen was excellent, as the combination of Seth Harvey, Felix Carvallo, and James Campbell held the Saints (12-6) off the board until the ninth. Kes Carter added insurance for St. Paul with a solo home run in the ninth to provide the game’s final margin.
St. Paul relievers Ken Frosch, Jake Matthys, Ryan Boelter and Tom Wilhemsen combined to record the final six outs, with Wilhemsen notching his fourth save.
The Wingnuts and Saints conclude their series Wednesday at 7:05 PM. Corbin Osburn (2-0, 0.81) will get the start for Wichita, while the Saints will counter with right-hander Vinny Nittoli (2-0, 2.07). The game will be broadcast on 1410 AM/93.9 FM KGSO, TuneIn and americanassociationbaseball.tv.