BOONVILLE – Utica Brewers pitcher Ryan Simpler (East Tennessee State) pitched a gem Wednesday night in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the PGCBL, tossing a two-hit complete game shutout and even taking a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in an 8-0 rout of the rival Adirondack Trail Blazers. Coupled with a Newark Pilots loss to the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, Utica clinched their first PGCBL postseason birth since joining the league back in 2013.
The Brewers got the scoring started in the first inning as cleanup hitter Taylor Olmstead (UConn) hit a single to the opposite field to score Ryan Cox (Kutztown University). The offense would keep their bats hot in the second as Jared Baldinelli (St. Bonaventure) and Cox would get consecutive extra base hits to put two more runs on the board. Two innings later, Baldinelli would hit his second home run of the season, a two-run blast to right off of Adirondack starter Tommy Eng (Adrian College), to make it a 5-0 lead for Utica. The Trail Blazers finally got in the hit column in the bottom of the seventh when Kyle Walker (Rutgers) laced a bloop single into left field. Garrett Longhurst (Albany) would get the only other hit for Adirondack in the eighth. The Brewers would add three more runs in the eighth, all off of reliever Connor Manderson (SUNY Cortland). These runs scored on a pinch-hit double by Aaron Smith (Wake Forest), a Baldinelli groundout (his fourth RBI of the night), and an Adirondack error. Simpler, who struck out eleven and walked only two in the winning effort, improved his record to 6-1 on the season while Eng was handed the loss.
Both teams will wrap up their regular season schedules on on Thursday as the Brewers (21-28) take on the West Division champion Elmira Pioneers at Dunn Field while Adirondack (17-32) visits the surging Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs. The Brewers will travel to Victor to face the RailRiders on Friday for their first playoff game. The winner of this matchup will face Elmira in a best-of-3 series.
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