Pilots pummel first-place Pioneers, 13-3

NEWARK, N.Y. – The Newark Pilots scored a season-high 13 runs as they trounced the West Division-leading Elmira Pioneers, 13-3, at Colburn Park Tuesday night.

Trailing 2-0 after the first inning, Newark's (13-19) offense came alive as it scored five times in the second and seven times in the third to take an insurmountable 12-2 lead.

Pioneers (23-13) starter Nate Matheson (Old Dominion) didn’t help his own cause by walking seven batters in two-plus innings of work. In all, he gave up 11 runs, all earned, on eight hits. The first six Newark batters of the third inning reached base safely before Pioneers head coach Matt Burch finally yanked Matheson in favor of Jake Greer (Samford).

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the second, Blake Valley (San Francisco) drove in Newark’s the first run with an RBI base hit. Two batters later, Cody Wiktorski (St. John Fisher) slapped a two-run double to left center to take the lead, 3-2. Mark Martin (Le Moyne) followed with a two-run single to jump ahead by three.

After all nine Pilots batted in the seventh, they sent 11 more to the plate in the third, tacking on seven more runs. Newark hit three triples and one double in the frame to go along with three walks, a hit batsman and a sacrifice fly. Willy Yahn (Connecticut) and Corey Lerche (Central Connecticut State) hit back-to-back three-baggers to open the inning.

Leading 8-2 and still nobody out in the bottom of the third, Wiktorski welcomed Greer into the game by hitting a triple to left center to clear the loaded bases. He finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored and five RBIs, one shy of tying the franchise record.

Newark would add one more run in the fourth. Gabe Levanti (Northeastern) singled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a Kyle Bartelman (Columbia) double. He scored on a two-out wild pitch.

The Pioneers came out of the gate strong with a two-run first inning to take the early lead. Justin Hayes (Old Dominion) and Christian Santisteban (Manhattan) walked and singled, respectively, to reach base. They both scored on a two-out base knock by Mike Korchak (Bucknell).

Newark starter Logan Harasta (Buffalo) settled down nicely after the shaky first inning as he set down the next 16 batters he faced before being relieved by Will Coleman (Clarkson) to start the seventh. Harasta earned his team-leading third win of the season with six strikeouts.

Bartelman led all batters with three hits in the contest, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Although Levanti only recorded one hit (1-for-2), he walked three times and scored three runs.

The Newark Pilots travel to Utica on Wednesday, July 15 to take on the Brewers (15-19) in an important battle for the third and final playoff spot in the West Division. Third-place Utica currently leads fourth-place Newark by one game. Elmira hosts Victor (18-17) Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.

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