The St. Paul Saints scored early and often on their way to an 11-4 defeat of the Sioux Falls Pheasants on Wednesday night at Sioux Falls Stadium.
The Saints scored twice in the first inning and never looked back. Jim Rapoport walked and plated on a double play for the Saints first run, and Ole Sheldon hit a long solo home run to straight away center. Adam Frost’s RBI single extended the lead to 3-0 in the second.
The Saints sent 12 men to the plate in the third inning, notching seven runs on five singles and Rapaport’s three-run home run. Starter Andrew Liebel (0-2) exited after the third inning and took the loss for the second straight start. He allowed 10 runs on 11 hits, walking three and striking out one.
The Pheasants tallied a run in the second inning on Trevor Lawhorn’s infield hit that drove in Cesar Nicolas. Two more scored in the sixth inning after a two-base error committed by Saints’ third baseman Ronnie Bourquin. Mark Shorey’s RBI groundout in the eighth scored Nicolas after he tripled with one out, shaving the lead to 11-4.
Nicolas was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI to lead the Pheasants. Jared Bolden and Lawhorn also had multi-hit performances.
The Pheasants’ bullpen continued to shine. Matthew Sommo, Jack Van Leur and Kyle Mertins combined in six innings for one run, a solo home run by Jake Krause in the sixth to stretch the lead to 11-1. Mertins has not allowed an earned run in four appearances over 5 2/3 innings of relief.
“The bullpen has done a great job so far this season, but we have to put together six and seven inning starts so that we don’t have to kill the bullpen every night,” Pheasants manager Steve Shirley said.
Saints starter Wes Roemer (1-0) hurled seven strong innings and allowed only one earned run in the victory. He struck out four batters and walked two.
Thursday’s series finale is at 7:05 p.m. at Sioux Falls Stadium. The projected pitching matchup is St. Paul RHP Alberto Rolon vs. Sioux Falls LHP Mitchell Clegg.
Courtesy: Scott Beatty, Pheasants