NEWARK, N.Y. – Cody Wiktorski’s (St. John Fisher) solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning proved to be the eventual game-winner as the Newark Pilots defeated the Utica Brewers, 4-3, Thursday night at Colburn Park.
The victory and a Victor loss puts the Pilots (10-11) in sole possession of second place in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s (PGCBL) West Division, a half-game ahead of the RailRiders (9-11) and one game ahead of the Brewers (10-13).
Trailing 3-1 in the seventh inning, Utica rallied with two outs to tie the game at 3-all. A single from Ryan Rosas (Corban) and a pair of walks loaded the bases against Newark starter Logan Harasta (Buffalo). Kyle Schade (St. Andrews) then welcomed reliever Clayton Spiker (Saginaw Valley State) into the game with a two-run base hit.
In the bottom of the frame, Wiktorski crushed a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right center. The local product from Penfield, N.Y., is now tied for the team lead with two dingers this season and is batting a team-best .368.
Spiker (2-1) earned the win with 1.1 scoreless innings of relief for the Pilots. Vinny Martin (Iona) earned the save, his second, with a 1-2-3 ninth. Harasta (Buffalo) surrendered three runs on four hits and four strikeouts in 6.2 innings.
Utica reliever Peter Beattie (UC Riverside) was tagged with a loss and is now 0-2 on the season after giving up the Wiktorski homer. He struck out four in two innings. Brewers starter Chase Cleary (Northern Colorado) gave up three runs, two earned, in six innings of work.
Taylor Olmstead (Connecticut) gave the Brewers a brief 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI fielder’s choice, plating Dominick Bregar (Colorado State-Pueblo), who led off the inning with a walk.
Brian Dudek (Buffalo) doubled and scored on a Willy Yahn (Connecticut) RBI ground out in the third to tie the game at 1-1. In the fifth, the Pilots took a 3-1 lead on RBI base hits from Kyle Bartelman (Columbia) and Mark Martin (Le Moyne).
Wiktorski, Bartelman, Martin and James Baer (Delta) each finished 2-for-4 for the Pilots, and Mason McClellan (Lake Sumter C.C.) did so for the visitors.
The Pilots travel to Elmira (14-9) on Friday, July 3 for a 7:05 p.m. matchup at Dunn Field. The Pioneers currently hold a three-game over Newark for first place in the West Division.