The Elmira Pioneers (31-13) made their first and only visit to East Field in Glens Falls to take on the Dragons sporting the PGCBL's best record. Glens Falls (18-27) has been eliminated from playoff contention and was looking to finish out the season strong in front of their biggest crowd of the year. Glens Falls jumped out to a 7-1 lead, and fought off an Elmira rally to collect the 8-5 victory.
The Pioneers wasted no time flexing their muscles in this one. Kyle Ruth (LIU-Brooklyn) smacked a one out double to left-center field. Brian Kelly (Siena) then hit an RBI single to score Ruth to give Elmira the early 1-0 lead off of Glens Falls starter Andrew Knuessle (Canisius).
Glens Falls took the lead in the bottom of the second off of Elmira starter Andrew Sipowicz (Canisius). Nate Cardy (Gannon) led off the inning with a single and Ryan Hooper (Cal-Davis) was hit by a pitch. After they were bunted over to second and third, Drew Greenwood (Bellarmine) drove a single up the middle to plate Cardy and Hooper to make it 2-1 Dragons.
The Dragons added to their lead in the third. They loaded the bases when Brian Granton (Colby CC) led off the inning with a double, Brian Uliana (Rider) walked, Chris Kwitzer (U. Buffalo) singled. Cardy then singled to drive in two runs to make it 4-1. Adam Cook (Lewis-Clark State) added a sacrifice fly for another RBI and to give Glens Falls a four run edge.
Glens Falls tacked on single runs in the fifth and sixth. In the fifth, Hooper reached base on a fielder's choice and raced in to score on a two-out infield hit by Cook, narrowly beating the throw to the plate. In the sixth, Greenwood singled, advanced to second on an error, and went to third on a single by Hunter Szaflarski (Lock Haven). Greenwood would come in to score on a Josh Brown (Skidmore) sacrifice fly to make it 7-1.
Elmira began to claw their way back into the game in the seventh. With one away, Ty Denzer (Kansas) walked against Glens Falls reliever Ryan Cummings (St. Joseph, VT.). After two were retired Joseph Preziuso (Canisius) reached on a dropped pop up in the infield. Zeke Lewis (Kentucky) then singled to score Denzer, and Preziuso scored when an errant throw went in to the Pioneer's dugout. Phil Madonna (Siena) then doubled to score Lewis to get Elmira within 7-4.
In the eighth for the Pioneers, Kelly led off with a double and scored on an RBI single from Lucas Denney (Seattle U.) to make it 7-5.
The Dragons got a run back in the eighth when Szaflarski reached on an error and scored on a double by Cardy to make it 8-5.
Cardy was 3 for 3 and Greenwood 2 for 4 for Glens Falls. They each had a pair of RBIs.
Kelly was 2 for 4 for Elmira.
Knuessle had a solid outing for Glens Falls. He pitched five and a third innings to earn the win. He gave up just the pair of first inning hits, and at one point retired 12 Pioneers in a row. Knuessle struck out seven and walked two and gave up only one earned run. Matt Stojkov (Northwood) earned the save.
Sipowicz suffered the loss.
Glens Falls returns home Saturday night to meet the Amsterdam Mohawks. Game time at East Field is7:00 P.M.