GERING, NE – Seven unanswered runs in the final four innings was not enough for the Western Nebraska Pioneers on Sunday night as they dropped their second straight decision to the Hub City Hotshots, this time by a score of 10-8.
While still a loss, the Pioneers (10-6) had a more encouraging outing than a night ago, when Hub City (5-11) handed them a 19-run defeat. The Pioneers pitching staff, which has been shaky over the past week, feel behind early once again. Conner Deeds, in his final start with the Pioneers, was ineffective, allowing five runs over 4.2 innings, and the usually solid Alex Jorgensen struggled with fastball command, and was pounded for five runs (two earned) on six hits over 2.1 innings of relief.
A night after hitting three home runs, the Hotshots had two in the early goings, with Jesse Spangler hitting his league-leading fifth bomb and Hunter Koep adding his first jack of the summer. The Hotshots led 10-1 after five and a half innings, and the Pioneers’ chances of battling back seemed slim.
Even though Western Nebraska was not able to pull out the win, encouraging signs were shown as three runs scored in both the sixth and seventh innings – on just two hits total over those frames. The Pioneers showed improved plate discipline across the board, showing up in the scoresheet as they walked five times to just three strikeouts. Unfortunately, the bats faltered late, with the Pioneers stranding a bases loaded, one-out opportunity in the eighth by scoring just one run, and getting set down on nine pitches in the bottom of the ninth.
Anthony Reese started the game for Hub City and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and one walk over six innings of work. Joey Wollman and Trevyn Wells were shaky out of the bullpen for the Hotshots, allowing four runs on four walks and two hits in two innings, but Josiah Acton shut down the Pioneers for his first save of the summer.
Still holding onto a 1.5 game lead over Spearfish in the Clark Division, the Pioneers embark on a season-long seven game road trip by playing two at Hastings starting on Monday in a two-game divisional set. First pitch is set for 5:35 PM MST with Cal Beardsley expected to start for Western Nebraska