Nick Rotola

Cleburne's Nick Rotola went 2-for-3 on Sunday in the Railroaders' 5-2 loss to St. Paul in game 3 of their series, in which the Saints took two games.

After getting no-hit in game 1 vs. St. Paul, the Cleburne Railroaders bounced back with a shutout win in game 2 but dropped game 3 of the series Sunday.

The Saints entered the three-game series Friday with one of the top 2 records in the American Association, and St. Paul left The Depot on Sunday with a 10-6 mark, second in the North Division behind the Chicago Dogs (10-5).

Despite dropping the series to St. Paul, the Railroaders remained atop the South Division standings as of Monday with a 9-8 record, a half game ahead of Sioux Falls and Lincoln.

In the series opener Friday, St. Paul right-hander Eddie Medina threw the first no-hitter against Cleburne in Railroaders’ franchise history in a 5-0 Saints win.

It was the first no-hitter at The Depot and only the sixth no-hitter in American Association history. Medina’s no-no was only the second in St. Paul history; Joe Miller threw a no-hitter in 1996 for the Saints. Medina (3-0) struck out 10 batters in nine innings on just 107 pitches (66 for strikes).

The Railroaders managed only three base-runners as John Nester reached on a dropped third strike, Logan Trowbridge reached on a hit-by-pitch, and Trowbridge later walked. 

Most of St. Paul’s offense came early with two runs in the second inning on three singles and an error and another in the third for a 3-0 lead, which was more than enough for Medina.

In game 2 Saturday, the Railroaders received some stellar pitching themselves in a 2-0 win over the Saints.

Jesus Sanchez returned to his opening day form as the righty tossed six scoreless innings and a trio of relievers followed suit by dominating the final three frames.

Sanchez (2-2) allowed only two hits without walking a batter as he needed only 79 pitches to get through six innings. 

The combination of Hayden Shenefield, Edward Cruz, and Tyler Wilson closed it out as each worked a scoreless inning. Wilson struck out two in the ninth, working around a pair of base-runners, to secure his second save of the season.

Wilson is 2-0 with two saves as he’s recorded 18 strikeouts against four hits allowed in nine innings for a 0.00 ERA.

St. Paul did not get a runner to third base the entire game against Cleburne’s stellar pitching.

A night after getting no-hit, the Railroaders made sure early there wouldn’t be even a hint of a chance for another hitless outing as Zach Nehrir blasted a solo home run for a 1-0 lead only two batters in.

Offense was hard to find after that, but Cleburne managed to scratch across an insurance run in the sixth. Nehrir singled, moved to third on a double from Chase Simpson, and came in to score on a ground-out from Angel Rosa for the game’s final score at 2-0.

The ‘Roaders recorded eight base hits, including multi-hit games from Nehrir (2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI) and Rosa (2-for-4 with an RBI).

In the rubber match Sunday, the Saints took a 4-0 lead early and held on for a 5-2 win to take the series.

St. Paul got the scoring started in the top of the third with two runs on just one hit. Cleburne starter Eudis Idrogo (1-1) limited the damage in the inning, but took the loss by allowing those two earned runs in three frames of work. The Saints added two more runs in the fourth to double the lead. 

Jonathan Rodriguez got Cleburne on the board in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double that scored Simpson, cutting the St. Paul lead to 4-1. 

But the Saints got that run right back in the following half inning on a solo homer for a 5-1 advantage.

Cleburne pulled a run closer in the sixth on a Nester RBI single, but Hunter Clanin grounded out as the potential tying run.

The Railroaders managed only one base-runner over the final three innings, including the final eight batters going down in order.

Cleburne had three players record multi-hit games: Nick Rotola went 2-for-3, Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Simpson went 2-for-4 with a run.

The Railroaders will be off on Monday as they travel to Sioux Falls to open a three-game series with the Canaries at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday.

Cleburne returns home to The Depot on June 11 for a 10-game homestand through June 20. The Railroaders open that homestand with a three-game series against Kansas City. First pitch for all home games are scheduled for 7:06 p.m., with the exception of Sunday games, which are typically 6:05 p.m. start times.

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