MINOT, N.D. — The Western Nebraska Pioneers were in danger of dropping their second consecutive game, trailing late against the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs, Thursday in Minot, North Dakota.
But the Pioneers scored the tying run in the eighth and the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth to secure a 6-5 win to open a four-game set with Souris Valley.
The Pioneers are now 33-9, leading the Clark Division by 10 1/2 games. Souris Valley is second in the Lewis Division standings with a 27-17 record, only trailing the Badlands Big Sticks by two games.
The Pioneers opened the road contest with an early lead, scoring the game’s first run when Cole Gambill, batting in the third spot, blasted a solo home run.
Western Nebraska added three runs to the lead in the third. Gambill reached on a bases-loaded error, scoring Alonso Bibiano and Chance Medina. Zack Peterson then followed with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Jacen Roberson.
But Souris Valley settled in for the middle innings scoring three runs on Western Nebraska’s starting pitcher Ty Bothwell in the sixth inning. The Sabre Dogs then took the lead in the seventh, with three straight base hits including a lead-off triple and a double.
The heart of the lineup saved the day for the Pioneers in the final two innings. Colin Ludwig hit a single in the eighth to score Gambill, tying the game at 5-5. In the ninth, it was Zack Peterson who drove in the game-winner. He reached on an error by the Souris Valley firstbaseman with two outs, allowing Medina to score from third.
Joseph Solomon slammed the door on the Sabre Dogs retiring the home team in order with a fly out and back-to-back strikeouts.
With the solo homer in the first, Gambill led the Pioneer offense with two RBI and two runs scored. Bibiano went 3-for-4 with a run scored and Chance Medina added two hits and two runs.
On the mound, Bothwell lasted five innings, allowing three runs on four hits with four strikeouts. Logan Gilbertson was first out of the bullpen, allowing two runs in two innings, but was credited with the win. Solomon earned the save, only allowing one hit with three strikeouts in two innings.
The series continues on Friday with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
Pioneers 103 000 011 — 6 8 0
Sabre Dogs 000 003 200 — 5 8 3
WP — Logan Gilbertson
LP — Chase Grillo
SP — Joseph Solomon
2B — Pioneers (Alonso Bibiano). Sabre Dogs (P. CHilds, M. Dinesen).
3B — Sabre Dogs (C. Calier, J. Paino).
HR — Pioneers (Cole Gambill).