The Dawgs’ starting pitcher, Tyler Kane (U. of Washington), got into trouble early giving up two singles and a walk to load the bases in the top of the first inning. He proceeded to get Pioneers first baseman Zac Bellinger (VCU-2011) on a called third strike to work his way out of the jam.
Mike Mahaffey (Marietta College), the Pioneers’ starter, experienced a little trouble himself walking a batter and hitting another before getting out of the first without a runner crossing the plate.
In the top of the second, Kane struck out the side, increasing his early-game total to five. In the bottom of the inning, Mahaffey was just as successful getting the Dawgs one-two-three.
In the top of the third inning, Kane gave up two hits, including a triple to Pioneers right-fielder David Bishop (Mississippi State) that scored the first run of the game for either team. For the Dawgs, a lead-off single by Colin Monagle (Jacksonville University) was quickly dispensed with when centerfielder George Hajar (Felician University) popped a bunt up to Mahaffey who doubled off Monagle at first base. On the next pitch, Mahaffey got Mike Fasolo (Mohawk Valley CC) to ground out weakly to the first baseman to end the inning.
Kane returned to form in the top of the fourth, striking out two more Pioneers batters and getting Sal Pezzino (High Point University) to ground out to third baseman Nic Spence (University of Cincinnati) who made a spectacular play going to his left to get Pezzino at first. In the bottom of the inning, Cullen Wacker (Auburn University) led off with a grounds rule double followed by a two-run home run by Bryan Bleakley (N.J. Institute of Technology) over the centerfield wall for his fourth dinger of the season since coming to the DiamondDawgs. Michael Gunn (University of Arkansas) then hit a single, advanced to second on Spence’s sacrifice bunt, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single to right field by Hassan Evans (Herkimer County CC).
Ty Yesensky (Old Dominion University), led off the top of the fifth with a single, went to second on a fielder’s choice and came around to score on a sharp single by Bishop. In the bottom half of the inning, the Dawgs left two runners on, including another hit, a single, by Bleakley. Mahaffey was able to get out of the jam without yielding a run.
Kane continued to pitch effectively, striking out two more Pioneers in the top of the sixth. In the home half of the sixth, Jimmy Reed (Skagit Valley C.C.) relieved Mahaffey to start off the inning and promptly retired the side one-two-three.
In the top of the seventh, Mohawk Valley manager, Troy Gerlach, brought in Selby Brummett (Paradise Valley CC) to relieve Kane. Kane gave up six hits, two runs and struck out 11 in a dominating six-inning performance. Brummett was charged with a questionable single up the first base line when the home plate umpire said he didn’t tag the runner on his way to the base. Despite that, he was able to get out of the inning unscathed. For the Dawgs, Hajar led off the inning with a single and was brought in by Wacker’s second home run of the season, a shot to deep center off of Reed. After back-to-back singles by Gunn and Spence, Evans grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning with the Dawgs leading 5-3.
Elmira capitalized on four errors by the DiamondDawgs by plating four runs, all unearned on Brummett, and took the lead 6-5 in the top of the eighth inning. D.J. Hoagboon (SUNY Albany) led off the bottom of the frame with a single, and Pioneers manager Dan Schwarm promptly brought in John Koch (Arkansas State) to relieve Reed. Monagle then sacrificed Hoagboon to second, Hajar singled him to third, and Fasolo drove him in with a single through the left side, tying the game at six apiece. Bleakley was hit by a pitch loading the bases, and Gunn smashed a single to left field scoring Hajar and Fasolo bringing the score to 8-6. On the play, the Pioneers got Bryan Bleakley trying to go to third, ending the inning.
Alex Lester (University of Kentucky) came in for the Dawgs in the top of the ninth. He retired the side in order, and the DiamondDawgs came away with their 9th win of the season. The Pioneers fell to 14-16.
Selby Brummett (2-1) earned the win, Alex Lester earned his first save, and John Koch (0-3) was charged with the loss.
In attendance was Light Heavyweight Ultimate Fighting Champion star Matt “The Hammer” Hammill, who threw out the first pitch, signed autographs and posed for photographs with fans that were in attendance.
The DiamondDawgs play again at home on Saturday, July 16, 2011 against the Pioneers. Game time is 7:05pm.