The Newark Pilots (25-22) clinched a berth in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League playoffs following their 3-2 win over the Elmira Pioneers (22-24) on Tuesday night.
Over 1,400 fans packed Colburn Park to witness the Pilots clinch a spot in the playoffs in the organization’s first season. Heading into tonight’s contest, the Pioneers still had a slim chance of making the postseason, but fell just short.
Dominick Ruscitti (Kutztown) improved to 6-1 with seven scoreless innings on the mound. He allowed just five hits and struck out seven without surrendering a walk.
In the home half of the third, Newark jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Jacob Starnes (UT Dallas) led off the frame with a solo shot to centerfield, his first homer of the season. Ray Delvalle (Kentucky Wesleyan) gave the Pilots a two-run advantage on an Elmira error later in the inning.
The Pioneers never posed a serious threat until the seventh inning. A single from Corey Keller (Florida Atlantic) put runners on the corners with just one out. However, Ruscitti struck out Logan Uxa (Arkansas State) then forced David Bishop (Mississippi State) to fly out to end the inning.
Kyle Attl (Cal State Northridge) drove in what would be the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh with a double down the left field line. Sean Osterman (St. John Fisher) scored from third after starting the inning with a triple.
Ty Yesensky (Old Dominion) cut the deficit to one with a two-run double in the eighth. Elmira again would end up with runners on first and third with just one out after Ryan Normoyle (Washington, Md.) reached on an error, moving Yesensky to third. The next two batters struck out swinging to end the rally.
Mark Scott (San Joaquin Delta) closed the final one and two-third innings for his 11th save. Attl finished 2-for-3 with a double and one RBI.
Elmira’s Adam Davis (St. John’s) pitched well despite taking the loss in his first start of the season. He gave up four hits in six innings with seven strikeouts. Normoyle and Keller each finished 2-for-4.
The Newark Pilots finish the season where it started, on the road against the Watertown Wizards at 7:05 p.m. The Elmira Pioneers host the Cooperstown Hawkeyes in a doubleheader starting at 5:05 p.m. The Pilots can win the PGCBL West Division with a win and if the Pioneers sweep the Hawkeyes.
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