Pioneers Drop Season Opener in Scottsbluff, NE

Box Score

(Scottsbluff, NE) The Miles Community College Pioneer Baseball team hit the road to open up their 2016-2017 baseball season in Scottsbluff, NE in a four game set against Western Nebraska Community College.

The Pioneers are coming into 2016-2017 after their most successful season in the program’s history since making the jump to the NJCAA Division I level. After making an appearance in the regional and super regional last season, MCC is looking to build upon a great year and solidify their place in the division I ranks.

The Pioneers struggled on the mound early and never quite found their bearings at the dish throughout the weekend as they dropped all four games on the road trip.

Game 1 MCC 3 WNCC 13 (5 Inn.)

MCC came out hot in the first half inning of the weekend with an RBI single by freshman Vinny Smith that plated sophomore Dakota Crowe to put MCC up 1-0. The lead wouldn’t last long as Western Nebraska proceeded to match the Pioneers in the bottom half of the first, and after a two spot in the second inning, Western Nebraska never looked back.

Freshman Ty Jones would hit his first career homerun in the fifth inning.

Western Nebraska would eventually finish the game after a Brock Randels grand slam that extended the lead to ten runs as WNCC cruised to the 13-3 victory.

Vinny Smith ended the game 2 for 3 with 2 RBI’s in his collegiate debut. Sophomore Cody Eaton would get the nod for the Pioneers and would go three strong innings but run into some trouble in the 4th. Eaton would pick up the loss after surrendering five earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks in three and a third innings pitched.

Game 2 MCC 2 WNCC 12 (5 Inn.)

MCC would struggle out of the gate in game two as starter Macka Pearson would get roughed up a bit in his first appearance as a Pioneer. After a solid first half inning, the freshman went on to allow seven earned runs in the second inning of game two. Despite only issuing two walks, WNCC was locked in at the dish as they strung together 5 consecutive base hits including a grand slam homerun by Tyler Shubert.

MCC couldn’t get it done on the offensive end as WNCC Starter Jacob Pekol brought a no hitter into the fourth inning.

Back to back singles by Porter Marley, and Kyhler Thomson in the top half the fifth would bring up freshman short stop Dustin Caplett. Caplett would break up the shutout with a two RBI single that plated both Marley and Thomson to give MCC their only two runs of the game.

In relief for the Pioneers, Jonathan Ringer would shine in is first outing of the season giving up zero earned runs on only two hits in two and a third innings pitched. Ringer would also record two strikeouts in his short outing.

After a few defensive blunders in the bottom half of the fifth, WNCC would plate three Cougars and take game two 12-2 in five innings.

Game 3 MCC 2 WNCC 8

Freshman Ty Jones would pitch four strong innings in his first college appearance but would run out of gas in the fifth inning as he approached the 100 pitch mark. Jones kept the Pioneers close in the first four innings giving up just three runs on four hits in his first four innings of work. Three two out walks in the fifth inning followed by a John Grasser double that plated all three would be the end of the day for Jones.

Redshirt freshman Sean Spillum would relieve Jones and make quick work in his inning and a third of work. Spillum struck out three of the four batters he faced and would finish the game for the Pioneers not allowing a single baserunner.

At the dish, MCC came alive in the fifth inning. After a Porter Marley walk and Rocco Arguto single, Mario Del Bosque III would hit a lined shot up the middle to plate Marley. Freshman catcher Steven Reinig would smoke an RBI double down the left field line to plate Arguto and bring the Pioneers to within three.

The WNCC offense answered in the bottom half with a three spot of their own and the game would go scoreless from there. WNCC would pick up game three with the 8-2 victory.

Del Bosque would lead the way offensively for the Pioneers in game three with two hits and an RBI. Reinig would go 1 for two with an RBI double.

Game 4 MCC 1 WNCC 2

The weekend finale wouldn’t disappoint as MCC’s Braxton Boyle and WNCC’s Claude Bova were deadlocked in a classic pitcher’s duel.

Boyle, who was pitching his first game as a college athlete, put together a strong outing as he would go five innings giving up just two runs on four hits. After giving up a run in the first inning and a run in the third innings, Boyle would keep a blistering WNCC offense off balance and scoreless in the middle innings of the game.

Despite a great outing by Boyle, the run support from the Pioneers wasn’t there. MCC struggled to get anything going at the dish against WNCC’s Claude Bova.

Bova, who carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, had MCC guessing as he would give up the lone Pioneer run while amassing 11 strikeouts and issuing one walk.

Bova’s perfect game would get broken up with two outs in the sixth inning as MCC found some life. After a Sheldon Danforth walk, Dustin Caplett would single to break up the no hitter. With two outs and runners at the corners, Bova would end the inning a strikeout to strand MCC’s first two baserunners of the game.

With Bova’s perfect game and no hitter broken up, MCC looked to break up the shut out in the seventh. Bova would be relieved by Alex Oehe to begin the inning and the Pioneers went to work to even up the scoreboard.

A pinch hit double by sophomore Porter Marley to lead off the inning was the spark MCC was looking for, but back to back Oehe strikeouts would put the Pioneers up against the wall. With two outs, Mario Del Bosque III would plate CJ Canfield (pinch ran for Marley) to cut the deficit to one run. With two outs and the tying run aboard, WNCC’s Oehe settled in and closed the door on the Pioneers. WNCC came away with the sweep after the 2-1 win in game 4.

Braxton Boyle would have the best outing on the mound for the Pioneers on the weekend as he went five innings, giving up two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and four walks. Del Bosque had the lone RBI of the game for the Pioneers as WNCC’s Bova and Oehe combined to give up one run on three hits while striking out 13 Pioneers and issuing just one walk.

Pioneer Head Coach Jeff Brabant on the weekend road trip:

“With this being our first time outside and our first time getting on field looks, our goal was to get as many live looks as we could and I think we accomplished that this weekend. We were shorthanded coming in and had some guys in spots they normally wouldn’t be in. I’m not happy with the result, but I was pleased with how we progressed through the weekend. We saw some good things and some bad things that we will either build on or fix this week in practice as we get prepped for our trip down to Arizona in two weeks. I am confident that we will be a much different team when we head back to Scottsbluff for conference play.”

Next up for the ‘Neers:

MCC will hit the road to Arizona as they will take a ten day road trip for Spring Break. The team will play seven games against a mix of junior college and four year schools in Tucson before opening up conference play against Otero Community College in a six game set beginning on March 10th in La Junta, CO.

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