A 5-4 victory over the Newark Pilots (24-22) at Colburn Park on Monday put the Cooperstown Hawkeyes (23-19) in first place of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s West Division with just two days left in the regular season.
The Pilots are now a game back of their divisional rival after drawing even with them last night following a 5-4 win in Cooperstown.
The game started with a pitcher’s duel through the first four innings. Hawkeyes’ pitcher Conor Kerins (West Chester) and Pilots’ starter Alex Flores (Ohlone) each surrendered just two hits through four scoreless innings.
Disastrous defense from Newark in the top of the fifth gave Cooperstown a 4-0 lead. Alex Meadow (Wesleyan) started off the inning with a double. Then two consecutive sacrifice bunt attempts resulted in fielding errors by second baseman Ray Delvalle (Kentucky Wesleyan) who was covering first.
Meadow scored on the first error, which put J.P. Sportman (Central Connecticut State) at second. Sportman then scored on the latter error, which allowed Jamie Jiron (Buffalo) to take second.
Bryan Aanderud (Cypress) slapped a two-run single through the right side later in the frame to give the Hawkeyes a four-run advantage.
A single from Michael Bolling (Lewis) and two hit batters loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth as Newark looked to do some damage of its own. Delvalle patiently earned the RBI walk to put the Pilots on the board, but that would be the only run to come across in the inning.
Sportman scored what would be the game-winning run in the eighth. He walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then took third on a failed pickoff attempt. Sportman scored when reliever Shayne Herold (Ashland) didn’t give him a convincing look back to third on a groundball before throwing out Jiron at first.
Newark nearly rallied back to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs, Randy Villa (San Joaquin Delta) singled, followed by a double from Bolling. Adam Grace (Genesee C.C.) drove in two runs with a single into left field, but Luke Swenson (UC Santa Barbara) would look at strike three to end the threat.
Flores takes the loss with four unearned runs on three hits for the Pilots. Bolling went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Grace finished with one run on one hit and two RBI’s.
Kerins improved to 3-3 with a game-high seven strikeouts in six innings pitched. Terrence Moore (Marshall) earned his fourth save. Aanderud drove in two runs on two hits to lead the Hawkeyes.
The Newark Pilots host the Elmira Pioneers tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. The Cooperstown Hawkeyes play a doubleheader in Watertown.
First game against the Wizards is at 5:05 p.m.