The 2,989 fans at Dunn Field were excited to receive their Mini-Bats courtesy of Elm Chevrolet as they entered the ballpark. Then, once they sat down, the Elmira Pioneers (14-11) showed what they can do with their full-size pieces of lumber in their 4-2 win over the Utica Brewers (3-21).
The Pioneers offense began in the bottom of the third inning, and it began with a bang. Chris Kalousdian (Manhattan) singled and stole second base and then scored on an RBI double by TJ Dixon (Samford). Dixon then stole third base, but it didn't matter as Christian Santisteban (Manhattan) drilled a long home run off the Texas Roadhouse sign in right-center field, giving all fans in attendance a free appetizer from Texas Roadhouse. Then, in the fifth inning, Dixon and the Pioneers had more magic in store.
Dixon began the inning with a double, but not one of the conventional type. Dixon hit a line drive to left-center, and when left fielder Joe Daru (NYIT), took an extra moment to come up with the ball, Dixon when for second base and slid in successfully. Joe Guaragna (Old Dominion) followed with a sacrifice bunt, but Dixon took the extra base once again. When Dixon noticed that no one was covering home, he darted around third and scored the Pioneers' fourth run. Combine those two plays with his stolen base, and the full speed of TJ Dixon was certainly on display for all to see at Dunn Field on Friday night.
On the pitching side, Logan Salow (2-1) worked around 3 hits and 3 walks to toss 5.1 strong innings for the Pioneers allowing just 2 hits. He was helped by a rarely seen play in the third inning, when the Pioneers recorded an 8-3-5 force at third base. After the ball dropped in front of Dixon, he threw home to Santisteban, who then alertly threw to Guaragna at third to catch Crachard Laing (Bluefield State) for the force at third base. Salow was followed by Brandon Holup (East Stroudsburg), who tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, before Matt Horton (Cornell) and Tucker Rekucki (Bucknell) finished off the Pioneers' victory. The combination of offense and pitching was explosive for Elmira as they won their second straight game on their USA Homestand.
Speaking of the USA Homestand, it will continue on Saturday with a heartwarming day at Dunn Field. Every Pioneers players will be introduced on the field alongside his parents, and that's not all! Fans will also receive free megaphones and have the chance participate in an auction of the Pioneers' special USA Homestand jerseys following the game. For tickets, head to the Dunn Field Front Office or call 607-734-2690 for information.
Elmira Pioneers Baseball...A Baseball Tradition Since 1888