Pilots Help Playoff Position With Convincing Win Over Utica

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The Newark Pilots (24-18) got a convincing win in a divisional matchup against Utica, winning 10-1 at Colburn Park on Tuesday night. The win marks three straight for the Pilots in Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League play.

Newark got its bats going right away, scoring five runs in the first inning. The first three came on three-RBI triple from Darian Herncane (Binghamton) to left center field. Herncane would then score on sacrifice fly from Bo-Hao Huang (Fu Jen Catholic) and Will Gorman (RIT) would add an RBI double to make it 5-0 after one inning.

“I got down in the count early,” Hercane said of his first inning triple. “I was just trying to put the ball in play and luckily he left the ball up in the zone and I got to drive it to left field.”

The Pilots would add two more in the third with Chase Cockrell (Hinds C.C.) picking up an RBI on a groundout and an RBI single from Gorman to make it 7-0. However, Newark wasn’t done scoring, adding two more in the fourth with a sacrifice fly from Herncane and Sam Fragale (Virginia Tech)scoring on wild pitch to bring it 9-1.

“It’s nice to score early,” Pilots head coach Chris Edmonson said after the win. “It helps the guys relax a bit.  It allowed our pitcher to settle as well and the offense just took off from there.”

Newark Starter Solomon Bates (USC) put together his best outing off the season, tossing six innings of one-run ball while allowing just three hits. Command was an issue late in the start as Bates issued five walks, but he countered that with seven strikeouts in his first win of the summer.

“He mixed up his pitches really well,” Edmondson said. “That’s something we talked about a lot coming off his last start. They worked some counts on him, but you can’t complain after six solid innings like that.”

The Pilots bullpen had a solid performance as well with Louka Bechakas (Niagara County C.C.) throwing two scoreless innings and Xan Reese (Northeast Miss. C.C.) closing the door with a scoreless ninth. Herncane went 2-for-2 with four RBIs and Gorman added a 2-for-4 day with two RBIs of his own in the victory.

“It’s very big,” Herncane said of the win over a divisional opponent. “Especially before the all-star break. It was a big ‘W’ that’ll help us carry the momentum into final nine games of the season.”

The PGCBL host’s its annual all-star game Wednesday in Albany with the Pilots sending Fragale, Chris Whelan (Parkland J.C.)and Chris Sharpe (UMass-Lowell) as members of the West division team. Herncane will also be participating in the league’s home run derby.

Newark will return to action on Thursday with an exhibition contest vs. Syracuse on Thursday at Colburn Park with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.