ELMIRA, N.Y. – In another high scoring affair, the Elmira Pioneers (27-22) bested the Utica Blue Sox (18-29) on Saturday night at Dunn Field.
The Pioneers opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning thanks to Brayden Combs (Kentucky). Combs roped a single up the middle that scored Allbry Major (Xavier) for the opening salvo of the game.
Two more runs came across the plate for the Pioneers in the third frame. Ayrton Schafer (Samford) knocked a single to left that plated two runs to give the Pioneers a 3-0 lead.
Utica responded with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth. Back to back sacrifice flies from Cole Pursell (Williamette) and Jimmy Mendyk (LIU Post) brought home the first two tallies of the game for Utica.
The Blue Sox then proceeded to take the lead with a five-run fifth inning. A RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Zane Harris (Wright St.) tied the game at three and then Mendyk picked up this second and third RBIs of the game when he scored two runners with a base knock. Two straight doubles from Evan Lee (Ashland) and Justin Tavares (Mansfield) capped off the inning by bringing in two more runs and pushing Utica’s lead to four.
Elmira had a big inning of their own to take the lead back in the sixth. With the bases loaded to open the inning, a Jonathon Crimmin (Siena) sacrifice fly scored one run, but a wild throw back in allowed Combs to score all the way from second. Coming off the bench to pinch hit, Devon Adams (Old Dominion) poked a single to right center brining the Pioneers to within one. After a stolen base, a throwing error from the pitcher Dino Faresse allowed Adams to score and put Andrew Orzel (Wofford) at second. Following a pitching change, Conor Grammes (Xavier) laced a single back through the box, scoring Orzel, and a wild throw to the plate allowed Grammes to get all the way to third. Major finished off the frame by singling home Grammes making the score 9-7.
In the seventh, the Pioneers extended their lead to three thanks to a Brett Rodriguez (Wofford) RBI single to right.
The Blue Sox did not go down without a fight as they plated two runs in the top of the eighth to trim the deficit to one. Mendyk picked up his fourth RBI of the game on another base hit and subsequent wild pitch brought Harris home to score and make the score 10-9 Elmira.
Grammes was handed the ball to close out the ninth and he did so successfully, picking up his fourth save of the year.
Chase Austin (Corning C.C) is credited with the victory after tossing two innings of scoreless relief.
Faresse is tagged with the loss as he allowed eight runs, six earned, in five and two-thirds innings of work.
The Pioneers will play their final regular season game on Monday, July 31, at Geneva at 7:05. The winner of the contest between the Pioneers and Red Wings on Monday will be the host team for the opening round playoff game between Elmira and Geneva on Tuesday night.