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Pioneers Outlast Outlaws

The Pioneers came in riding a two game winning streak as they embarked on game two of a four game road trip. Aside from the two in a row they had won they also had taken 3 of their last 4 games making a marked improvement on the last few weeks. Oneonta, however, provides a different opponent as Elmira hadn't seen the East division foe since the second game of the season which was a win for the Pios staking them to their longest winning streak of the season to this point, two.

The game got off to an interesting start as after Jeff Mejia struck out, Andrew Sexton singled and then stole a base as Garrett Schultz struck out. Preston Moore who had been on a tear was the next batter up and would be hit in the head by a wild pitch from Josh Hudgins taking him out of the game and Brennen Dorighi would take over on first. Nathan Peng came up and singled to score the run before the Pios were put out on a third strike out.

On the hill Elmira turned to Keegan Ernest who despite a rough last outing had been stellar for the Pioneers this season. Ernest made the first two outs of the first inning before Kevin Gsell reached on an errant throw from third and made his way to second base. Tim Buchek drove in Gsell as the game was knotted up at 1 after Ernest got the final out on strikes.

The Pios came back out for the second and made quick work of the starter as Hudgins gave up a double and a walk leading the Outlaws to bring in a reliever after just one inning of work from their starter. Walker Sutman came in and got Quinn Buffington to strike out, but Mejia earned a walk loading the bases. A sac fly by Sexton gave the Pios a 2-1 lead before the inning came to an end.

The Pioneers would find no success in the third, but in the fourth the floodgates opened for Elmira as all nine batters in the order came to the plate. Buffington reached on an error and with the overthrow made it to second to be driven in on a single by Mejia. The next two batters would both record outs, but Mejia advanced on a past ball to Sexton and then to third with a fly out by Schultz. A single by Dorighi scored Mejia and then he advanced on a throwing error by the pitcher and a stolen base at third. Peng walked as Dorighi was able to score on a past ball before Mason Ruhlman grooved a pitch to the outfield wall for a double scoring Peng to give the Pioneers a 6-1 lead.

Elmira's pitcher Ernest would be near perfect through the rest of his outing. Keegan pitched 7 complete innings allowing just four hits and the single run. Ernest allowed no walks and had eight strikeouts and was clearly back in form as he kept the Outlaws guessing on every pitch.

The Pioneers would tally one more time in the eighth inning as Jeff Mejia singled again, stole second again, was advanced on a fly out by Sexton and driven in by Schultz on a single. This would give the Pioneers all the cushion they needed as they turned to the bullpen and Matt Busher.

Busher came in and though two runners would reach base and advance to second and third Busher kept his composure and got out of the eighth inning unscathed. The ninth inning would once again see a runner get on base, this time with a walk and advance to third base on some wild pitching, but Busher settled down earned the final three outs and the Pios streak extended to a season high three games.



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