ST. PAUL, MN – Leonardo Rivas reached base three times and scored two runs in a 5-2 win for the Louisville Bats over the St. Paul Saints Thursday night at CHS Field.
The Bats got on the board early by manufacturing a run in the top of the first inning. Mike Siani singled to lead off the game and then moved to second base on Juniel Querecuto’s bunt single. Siani advanced to third base on a wild pitch and then scored later in the inning on a passed ball.
In the top of the third inning, TJ Hopkins extended the Bats’ lead to 2-0 with a two-out RBI double, scoring Rivas who had led off the frame with a double of his own.
That lead only lasted until the bottom of the fourth inning, when St. Paul tied the game at 2-2 on Dalton Shuffield’s two-out, two-run double. Those were the only runs the Saints would score against Louisville starter Justin Nicolino on the night. The left-hander struck out four over five innings during his outing.
Cristian Santana gave the Bats the lead back in the top of the fifth inning on a two-out RBI single. It was Santana’s team-leading 64th RBI of the season.
Louisville loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth inning, setting the table for Isiah Gilliam and Siani to each drive in runs and bring the Bats’ advantage to 5-2.
After Nicolino left the game, Pedro Payano, Ryan Hendrix and Ricky Karcher combined to pitch four-scoreless innings out of the Louisville bullpen to seal the 5-2 win.
The Bats and Saints will continue their six-game series Friday night at CHS Field. Robert Dugger (MLB Rehab) will make the start for Louisville, opposing Mario Sanchez (4-4, 4.39 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET.
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