The Newark Pilots (12-9) took a hard-fought loss at the hands of Elmira on Thursday night, 5-3. Newark is now 0-3 against it Western division rival in the 2016 PGCBL summer season.
Newark starter Xan Reese (Northeast Miss. C.C.) struggled with his command in the early innings, issuing seven free passes before being pulled in the third inning. The Pioneers would score four runs off Reese, but only two were earned as earned his first loss of the season.
Reese would be relieved by Sam Harrington (Itawamba C.C.) who made just his second appearance for the Pilots. Harrington pitched masterfully out of the bullpen, getting Newark out of a jam in the third inning.
“Xan has trouble throwing strikes out there,” Pilots head coach Chris Edmondson said. “But that’s what you have to do in relief, [Harrington] came out of the bullpen and did a great job for us when we needed him.”
Trailing 4-0 entering the bottom of the fourth, Newark would lead off the inning with back-to-back bunt singles from Greg Cullen (Niagara) and Luke Reynolds (Mississippi State). That set the table for Russ Olive to drive in a run on one of his three hits in the game. Newark would add another in the sixth on a solo home run from Reynolds to make it a one-run game at 4-3.
“[Reynolds] has been seeing the ball well lately,” Edmondson of the towering home run. “He’s been waiting for hittable pitches and then attacking and that’s exactly what he did there.”
After four scoreless frames, Harrington surrendered a run on a double down the right field line from Zeke Lewis (Kentucky) to stretch the lead to 5-3. In total, Harrington worked 5 1/3 innings, gave up one run and struck out in long-relief.
The Pilots would bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Elmira closer Parker Caracci (Ole Miss) would shut it down to earn the save.
Newark finishes up this three-game home stretch with Geneva coming to Colburn Park tomorrow for a 7:05 p.m. contest.