CLEBURNE, TX (May 31, 2019) – May 31, 2019 won’t go down in the St. Paul Saints history books as just game number 14 of the season. It will go down as the night Saints ace, Eddie Medina, threw just the second no-hitter in franchise history joining Joe Miller who accomplished the feat on August 25, 1996 against the Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks at Midway Stadium. Medina walked one, hit one batter and struck out 10 as the Saints defeated the Cleburne Railroaders 5-0 at The Depot at Cleburne Station.
The night started harmlessly enough with Medina striking out the first two hitters of the game. The third batter, however, left-hand power hitting Chase Simpson, came up with the infield shifted to the right side. Simpson laid a bunt down the third base side that Medina pounced off the mound, fielded with his bare hand and fired to first for the final out of the inning. Little did Medina know how big of a play that would turn out to be.
In the second. Jonathan Rodriguez smashed a line drive right at the shortstop Joey Wong for the first out of the inning. Medina would fan Angel Rosa and get Hunter Clanin to fly out to right to end the inning.
Things got strange in the third when Medina struck out John Nester, but the ball got by catcher Jeremy Martinez and Nester reached. The very next hitter, Logan Trowbridge, was hit by a pitch. KC Huth sacrificed the two runners over. Eddie Medina then settled down and struck out Nick Ratola and got Zach Nehrir to ground out to second to end the inning.
Medina was locked in from there and retired the next 17 hitters with the lone moment of trepidation being when Nester hit a deep fly to right that was caught in front of the wall by Max Murphy for the second out of the eighth inning. Medina then walked Trowbridge, but got Huth to ground out to end the inning.
In the ninth, Medina faced the top of the order and retired Ratola on a fly out to right. Then, the play of the night happened. Nehrir hit a two hopper to third that Chesny Young fielded up against his body. He threw across the diamond and handcuffed Devon Rodriguez at first, who made a spectacular pick for the second out of the inning. That brought up Simpson, who is leading the league in homers with seven. Simpson hit a 1-2 pitch wide of first, that Rodriguez fielded, and underhanded to Medina covering to complete the no-hitter. Medina fanned a season high 10 while walking one and hitting a batter. He has now not given up a run in 26.0 consecutive innings, third longest in franchise history.
Medina threw 107 pitches, 66 for strikes. It is the sixth no-hitter in American Association history and first since July 27, 2017 when Matt Sergey did it for Kansas City.
The Saints got Medina all the run support he would need in the second when Rodriguez singled to left and the ball got by Hunter Clanin as Rodriguez went to third. Blake Schmit’s single to center scored Rodriguez giving the Saints a 1-0 lead. Martinez then poked a single to right that sent Schmit to third. A safety squeeze by Joey Wong scored Schmit making it 2-0.
In the third, Young led off with a double to right-center. With one out Burt Reynolds made it 3-0 with an RBI single to center.
In the seventh, Schmit walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on a groundout. Josh Allen’s infield single to short scored Schmit to make it 4-0.
The final run came off the bat of Reynolds who hit a solo homer to left, his second of the season, to give the Saints a 5-0 lead.
The same two teams meet in game two of the three game series on Saturday night at The Depot at Cleburne Station. The Saints send RHP Dustin Crenshaw (1-0, 5.40) to the mound against Railroaders RHP Jesus Sanchez (1-2, 6.50).