ELMIRA, NY- There was little time to catch your breath at Dunn Field Friday night as action got underway almost immediately between the Pioneers and the Newark Pilots. A run scored in the top of the first for Newark after Kyle Norman (University of San Francisco) reached on a single and was moved over to third by Willy Yahn (University of Connecticut). Mark Martin (Le Moyne) hit a single to left field and brought Norman home, giving Newark the early lead.
A pair of errors from Elmira extended the Newark lead. After a Brian Dudek single, Kyle Norman stepped up again and hit a ball to Elmira shortstop Taylor Hillson (Mansfield). The ball was ultimately mishandled several times, allowing both Brian Dudek (Buffalo) and Norman to run home and extend the Newark lead to 3-0.
Elmira would score in the bottom of the second after Tommy Mirabelli (Kansas) reached on a fielding error. He moved to third on two fielder’s choices. Taylor Hillson then hit a single and brought Mirabelli home, allowing the Pioneers to narrow the gap to two runs.
Elmira was able to bring in two more in the third, after Christian Santisteban (Manhattan) hit a single and was moved over on an error. Tyler Plantier (UC San Diego) then stepped up and hit a ball to deep centerfield, bringing Santisteban home. Hayden Kelly (Florida) stepped up next and hit a ball down the first base line. After an error by Newark first baseman Kevin Biondic, Plantier was allowed to run home, tying the game.
In the fifth inning, Elmira struck again after bases were loaded after a Justin Hayes (Old Dominion) double and two walks for Santisteban and Plantier. Hayden Kelly then stepped to the plate for an RBI single to right field. This single brought Hayes and Santisteban home. This gave the Pioneers the lead for the first time all night, 5-3.
After William Gorman (RIT) hit a double off the first base line, a throwing error would bring Gorman home, narrowing the Pioneers lead to 5-4. Another run came for the Pilots in the seventh, after Brian Dudek hit a single and stole second base. Dudek was allowed to move home on a single from Norman, tying the ball game at 5-5.
The Pioneers would respond immediately after Justin Hayes smashed a double to deep centerfield. Santisteban was intentionally walked for the second time in the game, putting runners on first and second. Tyler Plantier then stepped up for a bunt which would ultimately move him to third base after yet another fielding error from the Newark infield. Plantier would score on a sacrifice bunt, raising the score to 8-5 in the Pioneers favor.
Newark scored an additional run in the eighth inning, as Mark Martin smashed a double deep and stole third to put himself in scoring position. A sack fly would bring him home.
The score would remain 8-6, as Blake Brailsford (BYU) took the loss for Newark. Mike Stephens (Bucknell) would get the win for Elmira, while Michael Scarinci (Manhattan) got the save.
USA Weekend continues this Saturday with stadium horns courtesy of M&M Auto. For tickets to either game, visit the Pioneers front office at 546 Luce Street or call 607-734-2690. For more information on your Elmira Pioneers, visittheelmirapioneers.com.