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Pioneers outlast Mohawks to capture Game 2

Pioneers outlast Mohawks to capture Game 2 of PGCBLCS

By: John McGraw
Chris Knott (East Stroudsburg, pictured) went 3-for-4 with one RBI and three runs scored in Elmira's 9-7 win over Amsterdam. Photo courtesy Dan Hickling

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ELMIRA, N.Y. – The Elmira Pioneers scored nine-straight runs on Wednesday night at Dunn Field to defeat the Amsterdam Mohawks, 9-7, in Game 2 of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series. With the win, Elmira tied the series, 1-1, and forced a winner-take-all Game 3 which will take place on Thursday night at Shuttleworth Park. First pitch for Game 3 is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

The Mohawks, in need of just one win to clinch their second-straight PGCBL championship, came flying out of the chute with a four-run first inning on three hits. John Sansone (Florida State) highlighted the scoring surge with a two-out, two-run double into right-center field. The Amsterdam lead increased to 5-0 in the second inning on a Dylan Smith (Auburn) sacrifice fly. Elmira starter Danny Britt (Trinity Christian) would not allow another run.

Elmira’s nine-run surge began in the bottom of the second. Brian Bashara (Old Dominion) reached second on a misplayed fly ball in left field to start the inning. He scored two batters later on an infield single by Matthew Pelt (Wofford). The Pioneers shaved the Mohawks' lead down to one, 5-4, in the third with three runs on three hits and one Mohawk error. Back-to-back one-out singles by Chris Knott (East Stroudsburg) and Ryan Plantier (Cornell) set up a sacrifice fly by Dave Hoffman (Siena). With runners on first and second following a walk to Brian Bashara, Colby Gee (Ithaca) roped a single into right field that got under the glove of Amsterdam’s Kyle Barrett (Kentucky). Plantier scored from second and the error allowed Bashara to race home all the way from first. Chris Knott completed Elmira's comeback from down 5-0 with a game-tying, two-out RBI single in the fourth.

The home siders overtook the Mohawks and reliever Rich Vrana (Marist) in the fifth on three-straight hits by Dave Hoffman, Brian Bashara and Colby Gee. Gee’s single into left field gave the Pioneers their first lead since the fifth inning of Game 1 on Tuesday night. Hoffmann increased the Elmira edge to two in the seventh with a one-out squeeze bunt and then he smashed a two-out RBI single in the eighth. Elmira’s nine-run rally ended in the eighth when Chris Knott raced home on a passed ball to record his third score of the game, which put the Pioneers ahead, 9-5.

Amsterdam rallied in the top of the ninth against Elmira closer Parker Curry (Samford). Back-to-back two-out singles by pinch hitter Kevin Guthrie (Brown) and Josh Gardiner (Radford) gave the Mohawks life. The third two-out batter of the inning, Ed Charlton (NJIT), blasted a double into right field that scored both Guthrie and Gardiner to cut Elmira’s lead to two. The Amsterdam rally ended there as Parker Curry struck out John Sansone (Florida State) swinging to end the game.

The Pioneers belted out 13 hits off of six Amsterdam pitchers. Chris Knott went 3-for-4 with one RBI and three runs scored to lead four different Pioneers with multi-hit games. Dave Hoffman was 2-for-3 with three RBI and one run scored, Colby Gee (Ithaca) singled twice and collected two RBI and Matthew Pelt (Wofford) was 2-for-4 with one RBI. Brian Bashara walked twice and scored two runs. Eight Pioneers had at least one hit.

Elmira starter Danny Britt (Trinity Christian) pitched five innings to earn the win for Elmira. He allowed five runs over the first two frames but retired nine of Amsterdam’s 12 batters between the third and fifth frames to capture his first playoff victory. Britt conceded five runs on five hits, walked four and struck out two. Anthony Roma (Herkimer County C.C.) and Anthony Ciango (Northern Illinois) each pitched one inning of scoreless relief. Parker Curry recorded a six-out save, his second converted save of the postseason.

Ed Charlton and John Sansone combined to drive in six of Amsterdam’s seven runs. Charlton finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and one run scored. He plated Amsterdam’s first run in the first inning with an infield single. Josh Gardiner walked twice and scored twice. Dylan Smith was 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored.

Amsterdam’s Rich Vrana took the loss. He gave up one run on three hits in 1.1 innings of relief. Starter Chris Kalica, who did not figure in the decision, allowed five runs, three earned, on seven hits over 3.2 innings. Kalica walked two and struck out one. Christian Bartholomew (Wake Forest) and Taylor Butler (Louisiana State) each pitched one scoreless inning for the Mohawks. Jeremy Soule (Fairfield) and Thomas Young (Western Carolina) both pitched in the eighth.

 NOTES: All 13 of Amsterdam’s runs in the Championship Series have been scored with two outs…Amsterdam’s John Sansone leads all PGCBLCS batters with five RBI…Elmira’s Chris Knott is 5-for-8 in the Championship Series with two RBI and four runs scored…Amsterdam is now 1-2 all-time in Game 2 of the PGCBLCS…The Mohawks have a 2-1 a record all-time in the PGCBL in Game 3’s. The Mohawks lost Game 3 of the 2011 PGCBL Championship Series at home to Newark; Amsterdam has Game 3 home victories over Mohawk Valley and Albany…Elmira has never played a Game 3 in the PGCBL playoffs. The summer collegiate Pioneers are 0-1 all-time in Game 3 with a loss to the Allegany County Nitros in the opening round of the 2006 New York Collegiate Baseball League playoffs…Elmira went undefeated at Dunn Field in two home playoff games against Watertown and Amsterdam…Elmira manager Matt Burch improved his all-time playoff record as the Pioneers skipper to 10-3.

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