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 St. Paul Saints

Festa Sets Franchise Record with Seven Straight Strikeouts, Saints Blank Bisons 7-0

May 25, 2024 - International League (IL)
St. Paul Saints News Release

BUFFALO, NY - The story before the game was the return of Royce Lewis, playing in his first Major League rehab game. The story after the game was David Festa who once again looked dominate as he struck out a franchise record seven consecutive batters from the second batter of the game through the eighth hitter. The Saints rolled from there tossing a three-hit shutout of the Buffalo Bisons, 7-0, on Saturday night at Sahlen Field.

Lewis got things rolling in the first. With one out he hit a 105 mph single up the middle. On the first pitch to DaShawn Keirsey Jr., Lewis stole second. Keirsey Jr. singled into left-center scoring Lewis giving the Saints a 1-0 lead. Lewis finished the night 1-4 with a stolen base and run scored. Keirsey Jr. then stole second and, with two outs, Matt Wallner walked. Yunior Severino hit a ground ball to third, but Addison Barger bounced the throw to first as it skipped into foul territory allowing Keirsey Jr. to score increasing the lead to 2-0.

It was all Festa from there. He got Spencer Horwitz to fly out leading off the bottom of the first. That was the last ball put in play until there were two outs in the third. He mowed down seven consecutive hitters, all swinging. The seven consecutive strikeouts set a Saints franchise record surpassing the six in a row by Joe Ryan (August 20, 2021 vs. Iowa) and Ronny Henriquez (May 28, 2022 vs. Indianapolis). Steward Berroa broke up the strikeout train by putting the first pitch he saw in play, a swinging bunt that turned into a groundout to second.

Will Holland got things started for the Saints in the second with a leadoff single to left. With one out Austin Martin reached on an infield single off the glove of a diving third baseman Barger. As the ball trickled into foul territory, Holland raced to third. As the ball was thrown to third, Martin raced to second. With two outs Keirsey Jr. drove a curveball over the right field wall, his seventh of the season, giving the Saints a 5-0 lead.

Festa retired the first 10 men he faced before giving up a one out groundball single to center in the fourth by Nathan Lukes. After a walk to Barger, Festa settled down and got Orelvis Martinez to pop out to the catcher Chris Williams and struck out Will Robertson. Festa went 5.0 shutout innings allowing one hit while walking one and striking out eight. He now has 60 strikeouts across 39.0 innings pitched. He lowered his ERA to 2.77 and a .225 opponents batting average.

Reliever Jordan Balazovic picked up where Festa left off. After giving up a leadoff single in the sixth, Balazovic got a double play and a flyout to end the inning. He went 3.0 shutout innings allowing two hits while walking one and striking out two. Another long ball in the eighth increased the Saints lead. Williams led off the inning with a double to left. That was followed by a two-run homer to left from Holland, his fourth of the season, putting the Saints up 7-0.

Ryan Jensen finished off the shutout by pitching a perfect ninth and fanning two. It was the Saints fourth shutout of the season and haven't allowed a run in 15.1 innings, the longest of the season.

The same two teams meet in the finale of the six-game series on Sunday afternoon at Sahlen Field at 12:05 p.m. (CT). The Saints send RHP Louie Varland (2-2, 3.90) to the mound against Major League rehabber, Bisons RHP Yariel Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00).

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International League Stories from May 25, 2024

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