GERING, NE – The Western Nebraska Pioneers pulled out a pair of wins in a pair of thrilling games on a Monday doubleheader at Oregon Trail Park Stadium, sweeping the Pierre Trappers with final scores of 3-2 and 5-4 in front of a strong crowd.
Game one got off to a strong start for the Pioneers (19-9), as starter Cal Beardsley escaped a jam in the top of the first inning that saw the Trappers’ (11-16) Teddy Petersen reach third base with no outs and fail to score. Beardsley was effectively wild all night, allowing run on four hits and four walks while fanning eight over five innings of work.
Beardsley would take a no-decision, even though the Pioneers offense broke things open early with two runs in the second inning thanks to a two-run single from Brandon Bohning. From there, the Western Nebraska offense was mostly silent off of the Trappers’ Tyler McDonald, who allowed three unearned runs over 6.1 innings, striking out six and walking none on six hits.
After Logan Gilbertson was hit around a bit in the sixth and saw the Pioneers lose their lead, the Pioneers got off to a strong start in the bottom of the seventh as Beau Bratton reached on an error, and pinch-runner Jansen Fontenot moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. A batter later, Colin Ludwig doubled Fontenot home for the first walk-off win in Pioneer history.
Game two was just as dramatic as the first, with the Pioneers taking an early lead off of the Trappers’ Zane Phelps as Will Olson reached on an error that scored Luther Woullard. From there, the Pioneers were mostly flummoxed by Phelps, who was working through the Pioneers lineup until the fifth inning.
Entering the fifth, the Pioneers were trailing 3-1, as Pierre rallied for three runs on three walks and two hits off of Pioneers right-hander Evan Ingram. The floodgates opened from there. Lane Harvey was hit by a pitch, Luke Coker walked, and Jansen Fontenot laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases with no outs.
A batter later, Hobbs Nyberg reached on an infield single as Pierre first baseman Cal Smith fielded the ball and never made any throw or tag. Luther Woullard then grounded a ball to shortstop, and while Michael Herrera’s throw was on target, Trappers catcher Spencer Sarringar was unable to apply a tag to Luke Coker, and the Pioneers tied the game up. An Andrew Bates sacrifice fly gave Western Nebraska a lead, and a Will Olson single drove home another run, making it a 2-run Pioneer advantage.
From there, Cameron Richman shut the door on the Trappers, earning his second win of the season in the process. Phelps, who also served as the Pierre designated hitter in game two, was the losing pitcher.
The Pioneers will look for the sweep of Pierre on Tuesday night at Oregon Trail Park Stadium. Chet Jones is scheduled to start for the Pioneers, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 PM MST.