PIERRE, SD – Jonny Petsch put together a strong start on the mound and Luther Woullard continued his hot stretch at the plate to lead the Western Nebraska Pioneers to a 4-2 win over the Pierre Trappers at Hyde Stadium in Pierre on Thursday night.
Petsch, coming off of his worst start of the year for the Pioneers (14-6) last week, was in command throughout his six innings of work. He gave up just one run, on a single to Cal Smith in the third inning, on four hits and two walks while striking out four. He had two separate 1-2-3 frames and rarely found himself in holes, a huge improvement over Friday’s disastrous outing against Hub City.
Pierre (7-11) was struck by injury in the early goings, as starting pitcher Anthony Fidanza left after feeling pain in his arm while throwing his warmup pitches before the top of the second inning. Reliever A.J. Fell was strong in his first three innings out of the bullpen before faltering to the Pioneers offense in the fifth. Although not as strong as yesterday, when the Pioneers scored 12 runs, the offense did its job to get the team another victory.
Brandon Bohning singled and Andrew Bates walked to open the fifth, putting two on with no outs for Hobbs Nyberg. Nyberg placed a perfect bunt just to the left of the pitchers mound and was able to beat out a throw to first. Woullard then singled on the infield dirt past Trappers’ shortstop Michael Herrera, giving the Pioneers their first lead. Nolan Metcalf would later score Nyberg on a fly ball that was misplayed by Trappers right fielder Connor Burgess.
From there, the Pioneers were in command – tacking on another run in the sixth on a wild pitch that scored Aaron Gerdes, and watching the loaded bullpen do their thing yet again. Luke Bradley loaded the bases in the seventh but escaped with no damage done, and Cameron Richman allowed one run on a bloop double to left field before Jeff Hakanson struck out the side in the ninth to earn his second save of the season.
The Pioneers, now eight games above .500 and winners of four straight, travel to Aberdeen, South Dakota for a three-game weekend series with the Hub City Hotshots. First pitch for Friday’s matchup is scheduled for 5:35 PM MST, with Logan Gilbertson scheduled to make his first start of the season for the Pioneers.