Utica holds on to defeat Newark, 6-4

NEWARK, N.Y. - The Utica Brewers thwarted a Newark rally in the bottom of the ninth and held on to defeat the Pilots, 6-4, at Colburn Park in Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) action on Thursday night.

Trailing 6-3 heading into the ninth inning, Utica (6-7) third baseman Zach Piazza (Wake Forest) dropped a high pop-up to allow Kyle Norman (San Francisco) to reach base safely. He moved to second on a wild pitch from Brewers reliever Wei-Yang Tsao (National Taiwan Sport Univ.) and tagged up to reach third on a fly out to center. Tsao’s errant throw on a failed pick-off attempt at first allowed Norman to score and cut the deficit to two.

Newark (4-6) threatened with one out following a base hit from Kevin Biondic (Maryland), moving Gabe Levanti (Northeastern) to third. Blake Valley (San Francisco) ran for Biondic and stole second, but the two runners were stranded in scoring position as Tsao recorded a pair of punch outs to seal the victory. 

The save was Tsao’s first of the season.

Utica starter Collin Gee (Oakland (Mich.)) earned the win and improved to 1-2 with seven shutout innings of work on 85 pitches. He gave up six hits but fanned a half dozen in his longest outing of the season.

Gee’s offense provided him with six runs, all scored in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Dominick Bregar (Colorado State-Pueblo) drove in two on a bases-loaded single in the fifth inning. Vincent Capone (Concordia) plated one in the sixth with a two-out base hit. 

Bregar, who finished 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs and one run scored, highlighted a three-run seventh inning for the Brewers with a two-run home run over the wall in left-center field.

The Pilots began their attempted comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning after Gee was replaced by Kent Axcell (Ohio State). Axcell recorded only one out but was responsible for all three runs scored in the frame.

Anthony Spina (Amherst) drove in the Pilots’ first run on an RBI base hit, scoring Willy Yahn (Connecticut) from second base. Mark Martin (Le Moyne) cleared the bases in the next at-bat with a two-run triple off of Utica reliever Tim Benner (Tiffin), cutting the deficit to 6-3.

Newark starter Will Nichol (Hendrix) fell to 0-2 after giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked two on 91 pitches. 

The Pilots were led offensively by Spina, who went 3-for-5 with one run scored and an RBI. Levanti and Martin each collected two hits.

The Pilots are home again on Friday, June 19, at 7:05 p.m. when they host the Victor RailRiders (5-4). The Brewers host Adirondack in a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 5 p.m.


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