ROSEMONT, IL (August 23, 2018) – The St. Paul Saints are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for a spot in the playoffs. They pitched like it was a playoff game on Thursday night at Impact Field against the Chicago Dogs. Behind Trevor Foss and the bullpen the Saints won 3-1 and, while their lead in the North Division fell by a 0.5 game to 1.0 over the Gary SoutShore RailCats, their magic number to clinch a playoff spot dropped to six with 10 games to go, as the RailCats swept a doubleheader from the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, the second and third place teams in the North, respectively.
Two Trevor’s were locked in a pitcher’s duel most of the night, but it was the Saints Foss who out up goose eggs for the first six innings. Through the first four he didn’t allow a runner past first. In the fifth Dalton Blaser led off with a lined single off the foot of Foss. Tony Roselli laid down a bunt to the first base side that Foss fielded, but no one covered first base and the Dogs had runners at first and second and nobody out. Foss would strikeout Stephen Perez and then get two fly outs to end the inning.
With the Saints leading 2-0 in the seventh Roselli doubled with one out. Perez lined an RBI single into right making it 2-1 and Foss departed for reliever Beck Wheeler. He fanned the next two hitters to get out of the inning. Foss went 6.1 innings allowing one run on seven hits while striking out five.
In the eighth Wheeler struck out the first batter he faced in the inning, but walked Edwin Arroyo. Lefty Ken Frosch came out of the bullpen to face the lefty Rubi Silva, but the teams had to halt play for a 13-minute fireworks show. When play resumed Frosch threw a wild pitch that moved Arroyo to second. Frosch would strike out Silva and intentionally walk Trey Vavra. Frosch finished off the inning with a strikeout of Blaser. Wheeler went 1.0 shutout inning while walking one and striking out three, while Frosch went 0.2 inning while walking one and striking out two.
The Saints tacked on an insurance run in the ninth when Joey Wong doubled with one out and scored on a two-out single by Kyle Barrett, who extended his hitting streak to 19 games.
In the bottom of the ninth Zack Jones closed it out by striking the first hitter out, and then after a walk, fanned the final two hitters to pick up his eighth save in as many tries. The Saints pitchers struck out 13 on the night.
The Saints offense got on the board in the third when Justin O’Conner singled and went to third on Aaron Gretz’ double. With one out Max Murphy made it 1-0 with an RBI groundout.
In the seventh Nathaniel Maggio doubled, his second of the game, and O’Conner made it 2-0 with an RBI single.
Dante Bichette Jr. extended his hitting streak to 22, tied for the third longest in franchise history, with a single in the eighth.
The same two teams meet in the second game of the three-game series on Friday night at Impact Field at 7:05 p.m. The Saints send LHP Chris Nunn (5-3, 3.52) to the mound against Dogs RHP Wes Torrez (0-0, 0.00).