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Saints' pitching holds off Bisons

By: Brayden Peters

Orelvis Martinez watches the ball sail over the fence on May 21 2024. Photo Credit: Buffalo Bisons Baseball

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The St. Paul Saints got the best of the Buffalo Bisons in their first matchup of the season, winning 3-1. The Bisons struggled offensively, as the Saints' defense forced four double plays between the fourth and ninth innings.

Saint Paul got onto the board early in the game in the first inning. Matt Wallner managed to get Austin Martin home on a sac-fly to give the Saints a 1-0 lead. After the hit, Buffalo's pitcher Yariel Rodriguez was replaced with Beau Sulser. Rodriguez is in Buffalo after being placed on the 15-Day Injured List on Apr. 30 for thoracic spine inflammation.

In his first game with the Bisons this season, Rodriguez surrendered one hit, one run and a walk in 0.1 innings pitched.

"That was just the deal," Canadele said. "He did well. He did what he needed to do."

St. Paul proceeded to hold off Buffalo's offense for the first three innings, only surrendering two hits that were singles. Buffalo, though, was able to tie the game in the fourth inning thanks to a home run from Orelvis Martinez. It was his eleventh home run of the season, tying the number of home runs he had last season in Buffalo.

"He's been doing great," Canadele said. "He's willing to learn and do the things that he needs to do to get better. He's progressing really well with his at-bats throughout the season...He's learning and maturing as a player and a person and that's good to see...He's talented and you know, he's fun to watch."

Before Buffalo could get hot from the batter's box, the Saints got out of the fourth thanks to a double play.

The Saints responded and took back the lead. In the top of the fifth inning, Will Holland and Austin Martin both homered off of Sulser's pitchers to give St. Paul a 3-1 lead.

The rest of the way, the pitchers for St. Paul showed out. For St. Paul, Louie Varland tacked on two strikeouts to his name in the sixth inning. He ended his day surrendering four hits, one run, and three walks all while recording three strikeouts in 6.0 innings pitched. He was also given the win for the game.

Josh Winder stepped in the seventh inning for Varland and in two innings, he recorded two strikeouts. He didn't allow the Bisons to record a single hit and never allowed any walks.

Cameron Eden runs to first base on May 21 2024. Photo Credit: Buffalo Bisons Baseball

"It didn't go our way," Bisons outfielder Cameron Eden said. "I think we hit some balls hard that just didn't land."

The pitchers also had some more help defensively. Three more double plays in the fifth, seventh and ninth innings to keep the Bisons' offense at bay.

Buffalo, though, had solid pitching as well. Sulser ended the day giving up two hits, two runs, a walk and he recorded two strikeouts in 4.1 innings pitched. He was given the loss in this game. Buffalo's relief pitchers all at least had one strikeout from the fifth to the ninth inning. Hayden Juenger led the way with three strikeouts, while Brendon Little was right behind with two and Hagen Danner finished with one.

"We did a good job," Canadele said. "I mean solo home runs, they don't beat you. We didn't score any runs. So you know, it's like Beau Sulser did a great job coming in for Yurial, and as did the other pitchers. They kept us in the game and that's what you ask. To give up three runs in nine innings, you hope to win those games."

Although the game looked out of reach for the Bisons in the ninth, things got more problematic for them. Nathan Lukes, who leads the Bisons in batting average with .350, took a hit to his left leg after Addison Barger made contact with the ball. It took a bit for Lukes to get back up to his feet and walk and his status is unknown for tomorrow's game.

The Bisons drop to 25-21 with the loss and are currently in third in the IL East. As for the Saints, they improve to 19-25 and are ninth in the IL West. The two teams will continue the series in Buffalo with game two being tomorrow at 1:05 p.m.

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