SPEARFISH, SD – The Western Nebraska Pioneers kicked off their five-game road trip on the right note on Wednesday night, defeating the Spearfish Sasquatch by a score of 7-5 in a back-and-forth series opener at Black Hills Energy Stadium.
The Pioneers (28-11) struck first in the top of the second inning when Travis Turney laced a two-run double to the opposite field in left-center that scored the first two runs of the ballgame. In the bottom of the third, the Sasquatch (16-21) got to Pioneer starter Evan Ingram for three runs, mostly helped out by a two-run double from Hayden Hastings. That, however, would be all the damage (in terms of earned runs) that Ingram would surrender.
Overall, it was a better start for Ingram than his first. After the Pioneers took back the lead in the top of the sixth off of solo home runs from Jack Pauley and Will Olson, Spearfish benefitted from an error with two outs in the bottom half to score two more runs and retake the lead. Neither run was charged as earned to Ingram, who finished his day after 5.2 innings of work allowing three earned runs on two walks, eight hits and three strikeouts.
The Pioneers chased Spearfish starter Luke DeGrammont (6 IP, 8 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts) after the sixth inning, and quickly broke things open again against right-handed reliever Jackson Arnsdorft. With two runners in scoring position, Arnsdorf fired two wild pitches that scored Brandon Bohning and Jansen Fontenot and gave the Pioneers a one-run lead. They would add to that in the top of the ninth on an RBI double from Hobbs Nyberg.
The Pioneer bullpen was once again rock-solid, with Logan Gilbertson (who earned his league-leading seventh win) combining with Luke Bradley, Alex Jorgensen and Jeff Hakanson to allow just one walk and one hits over the final 3.1 frames. Arnsdorf took the loss for Spearfish, his second of the season.
The Pioneers and Sasquatch conclude their two-game series on Thursday night at Black Hills Energy Stadium. Chet Jones will make his final start in a Pioneer uniform for a 6:35 PM MST first pitch.