LOUISVILLE, KY- The Louisville Bats (55-82) struck for five runs in the final three innings of a pitcher’s duel with the St. Paul Saints (66-70) to even the series at CHS Field on Wednesday night.
Louisville starter Levi Stoudt (0-2, 4.91) dazzled in his second start since coming off of the injured list on September 7. Still under a strict three-inning or 50-pitch limit, he worked 2.2 scoreless innings without allowing a hit and just one walk while whiffing five, including striking out the side in the second inning.
St. Paul starter Simeon Woods Richardson (1-0, 2.55) mirrored Stoudt’s excellent performance, but was not held back by a usage limit. He tossed six scoreless innings of his own, scattering just two hits while walking one and striking out four.
Louisville struck first in the pitcher’s duel when infielder Michael De Leon delivered an RBI base hit in the top of the seventh inning to drive in TJ Hopkins who had doubled to center field two batters prior, giving the Bats a 1-0 lead.
The double from Hopkins extended Louisville’s extra-base hit streak to 74 consecutive games, the longest active streak in all of minor league baseball.
St. Paul wasted little time to respond as center fielder Mark Contreras doubled on the first pitch he saw to lead off the home half of the seventh inning. Third baseman Nash Knight drove him in two hitters later, lining a base hit into left field to knot the game at 1-1.
Usual starter Carson Spiers (1-1, 8.18) followed Stoudt out of the bullpen in the fourth inning in an extended relief situation and recorded four innings, allowing just one run on six hits with three strikeouts.
In the top of the eighth, the Louisville offense executed a two-out double steal, putting Mike Siani and Juniel Querecuto on second and third base to set the stage for Cristian Santana. Santana delivered just one pitch later, lining a base hit into center field to give Louisville a 3-1 lead.
Louisville tacked on two more in the top of the ninth. After Leonardo Rivas led off the frame with a base knock, Michael De Leon notched his second hit of the ball game with an opposite field double to put runners on second and third. An RBI-single from Michael Papierski and a sacrifice fly from Isiah Gilliam pushed the Bats out in front by a score of 5-1.
Reliever Eddy Demurias entered in the ninth inning and ran into a bit of trouble, allowing a walk and a single to start the frame,…