ELMIRA, N.Y. – The Elmira Pioneers (1-1) did not disappoint their fans in the home opener at a packed Dunn Field as they picked up a 15-12 victory over the visiting Saugerties Stallions (0-2).
The Pioneers would jump out to an early lead thanks to an eight spot the team posted in the bottom half of the first. Brayden Combs (Kentucky) got things started for Elmira as his opposite field single plated Anthony Nucerino(UConn) for the opening salvo of the ballgame. Following a walk to load the bases, Joe Preziuso(Canisius) was hit by a pitch that forced home the second run of the inning. Bryan Seamster (Ole Miss) would then follow up with a walk to force in a run and chase Stallions starter Austin Batchelor (Boston College) after recording just one out. Casey Oliver broke the inning open for Elmira with a two-RBI single. The Pioneers would go on to score eight runs in the inning capped off by a two-RBI double from Anthony Nucerino (UConn).
Saugerties would respond immediately however as they put up three in the second thanks to a bases loaded walk, and a throwing error from Brett Rodriguez (Wofford) that allowed two runs to score.
Elmira would extend their lead to seven in the third thanks to some aggressive baserunning. Seamster singled to open up the inning and then took second on a wild pitch. Seamster would later tag and advance to third on a Casey Oliver (ULM) fly out and would then score after the throw from the right fielder went wild and allowed Seamster to scamper home giving the Pio’s a 10-3 lead.
But again, Saugerties would not go down silently. In the fourth, the Stallions loaded the bases and with two outs, Nick Campana (Hartford) smacked a single up the middle that would score two and the subsequent throw in from Anthony Nucerino to third went out of play allowing a third run to score. Later in the inning, again with the bases loaded, Andrew Taft (Buffalo) would clear the bases with a ringing double into the left center field gap scoring three and trimming the Pio’s lead to one.
The score would stay the same until the seventh, when the Pio’s would add four more runs and push their advantage to five. Oliver would again deliver in the clutch driving in two more runs with a bases loaded single that pushed the Pio’s lead to three. Nucerino followed Oliver’s lead, as he doubled his RBI total for the game to four with a two-run single giving the Pio’s a five run lead.
The Stallions would not go quietly into the night however, as they were able to plate three runs against TJ Stuart (Manhattan) in the eighth before loading the bases and forcing manager Brian Hill to go to the bullpen. Hill called on Parker Ford (Miss. State) who promptly induced a comebacker that he turned in to a 1-2-3 double play to squash the Stallions rally and keep the Pio’s lead at two.
Elmira would tack on an insurance run in the bottom half the eighth as following a Brayden Combs (Kentucky) double, Oliver would again come up clutch with an RBI single, his fifth RBI of the game.
Ford would stay on and pitch the ninth for the Pio’s, getting his second double play of the night to the end the ball game and secure the victory for Elmira.
Alvin Vega (Canisius) picks up the win for the Pioneers, as he worked 3.1 scoreless innings out of the pen in relief of starter Jake Hamilton (Kentucky). Ford picks up his save after coming on and getting the final five outs.
Batchelor gets saddled with the loss for the Stallions, as he could only record one out in his start and allowed six runs.
The Pioneers will be back in action again tomorrow night, Saturday, June 3, against the Newark Pilots (1-1) with fireworks to follow the final out of the game.