Pilots Edge Trailblazers in a Pitchers’ Duel

The Newark Pilots (12-8) squeaked out a victory over Adirondack on Wednesday night, 2-1. Newark is 3-0 against the Trailblazers on the season with three more matchups slated for the rest of the season between the Western division rivals.

Right-hander Ryan Wesson (Northeast Miss. C.C.) started for the Pilots and cruised through the first three innings while allowing just two baserunners. After Wesson struck out back-to-back hitters to end the third, Newark took momentum into the bottom of the inning.

Jordan Swiss (Saginaw Valley State) opened the frame with a double, which would be the only extra-base hit in the game. Swiss would be brought around to score on a sharply hit single up the middle off the bat of Luke Reynolds (Mississippi State) to put the Pilots up 1-0.

Wesson would then get the first two outs of the fourth before giving up three consecutive singles on weakly hit balls. With the bases loaded Wesson would get Chris Talbott (Seton Hall) to chase a breaking ball in the dirt for strike three to preserve the lead.

“The main key is keeping your timing different,” Wesson said of his outing. “Fastball and off-speed, just mixing everything up. The sinker worked down-and-in, they had a lot of swings and misses and the curveball, they just couldn’t see it.”

However, Talbott would extract his revenge with a two-out single that would score an unearned run in the sixth to tie the game 1-1 and end Wesson’s day. Wesson pitch around a lot of baserunners, but didn’t allow an earned in the game and unfortunately was left with a no-decision.

“Sometimes you don’t have your best stuff on the mound,” Pilots head coach Chris Edmondson said of Wesson. “But he did exactly what you have to do. You go out there and compete, limit what they have going out there on the bases and he did a great job of that.”

After letting the lead slip away, Newark quickly responded with back-to-back single from Russ Olive (UMass-Lowell) and Matt Zielonko (Parkland J.C.) to lead-off the inning. With runners at the corners and no outs Acy Owen (Hinds C.C.) would plate the go-ahead run on a double play hit up the middle.

The Pilots pitching would be stellar with Quinton Logan earning the win in relief and Loukas Bechakas getting a six-out save in the scoreless performance from the bullpen. Zielonko would seal the deal with a full-extension diving catch down the right field for the last out.

“That’s top-notch,” Edmondson said of the catch. “When you have guys laying out and giving there all like that it really makes you smile as a coach.”

The Pilots continue their three-game home stretch with Elmira coming to Colburn Park for a 7:05 first pitch on Thursday.