The Newark Pilots split a doubleheader with the Victor Railriders, taking the first game 5-4, but losing game two, 12-6. Newark was the visiting team in game one because the game was originally scheduled to be in Victor. After today’s results the Pilots are 4-2 against Victor on the season.
The day started off on a high note with Luke Reynolds (Mississippi State) launching a three-run home run in the first inning of game one. The blast put the Pilots up 3-0 and was Newark’s first home run at Colburn Park this summer.
“He made a mistake with the fastball in,” Reynolds said of his first home run of the season. “I just tried to get my barrel to it and luckily it got out of the ballpark to set the tone early in the game.”
Newark wouldn’t score again until the top of the seventh when Darian Herncane (Binghamton) stole third and would then score on a wild pitch to give the Pilots a 4-0 lead. Then Matt Zielonko (Parkland J.C.) would drive home Jon Schafer (Santa Clara) in the eight to make it 5-1.
Right-hander Skyler Defer (Northeast Miss. C.C.) made his third start of the season and it would be his best effort of the year. Defer didn’t allow a hit until fifth and the first didn’t score until the seventh for Victor.
“We jumped out 3-0 early,” Defer said of his third win. “That really gave me a lot of confidence pitching with a lead. I knew I just had to go out there and fill it up, throw strikes and we’d get the job done.”
Defer consistently pounded the strike zone and induced weak contact to earn his team-leading third win of the season. The right-hander would run out of gas going out for the ninth, giving up three runs, but Brian Dolan (UMass-Lowell) would come and earn the one-out save.
The Pilots pitching staff struggled in game two with starter D.J. Mendenhall walking five hitters before being lifted in the second inning. After the teams exchanged runs in the first, Victor would explode for six runs in the second taking advantage of Newark’s lack of command.
Newark would score five runs off Victor starter Luke Tomczyk (Monroe C.C.) in the third and fourth with Chris Whelan (Parkland J.C.) and Russ Olive (UMass-Lowell) adding RBIs. A stretch of five games in three days eventually took its toll on the pitching staff as the tired arms would surrender 12 walks in the loss.
“They battled hard all day,” Pilots head coach Chris Edmondson said. “It’s tough when you have to play two in one day, let alone doing that twice in three days. Some things didn’t go our way in the second one but things like that happen.”
The Pilots have an off-day Wednesday, but will return to action at 7:05 p.m. Thursday as they travel to Elmira. Newark’s next game at Colburn Park is on Saturday as they host Adirondack.