The Western Nebraska Pioneers found its rhythm on offense early to earn a 9-2 win over the Casper Horseheads on Tuesday at Oregon Trail Park.
The Pioneers were equally potent on the mound.
Pioneers coach Antonio Garcia said his team played a great game.
“I thought we played well from the first pitch to the last,” he said. “We did a great job on the mound. Carson went out and pitched a great game.”
Carson Ohl struck out the first two batters he faced to start the game. Ohl wouldn’t surrender a hit in the second inning, either.
Garcia said a key to the win was his team finding its offense.
“Our bats came alive again. When they set the table for us with walks we took advantage on some key opportunities in some key spots. It was really good to see,” he said.
The Pioneers’ Daulton Frank and JT Waldon drew walks to start off the bottom of the second.
Bryan Webb hit a single to load the bases for Nathan Marroquin. Marroquin drew a walk to play Frank for the Pioneers first run of the game.
Eric Smelko smacked a single that brought Waldon around for the team’s second run.
Ohl surrendered a hit to Ricky Teel, who was left stranded.
The Pioneers picked up where they left off in the second. Tyler Davis hit a two-run shot in the third to put Western Nebraska up 4-0.
With one out in the top of the fourth, Christian Lopez reached first on a single, then stole second. A Jake Baker single moved Lopez to third.
Lopez scored Casper’s first run on a fielder’s choice.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Casper’s Quinn McGuire relieved starting pitcher Jacob Small. Small exited the game with three strikeouts, but gave up four hits and four earned runs.
Smelko picked up a RBI on a single that scored Marroquin to give the Pioneers the 5-1 advantage.
Both teams were held scoreless over the next two innings. Casper scored a run in the top of the seventh, but the Pioneers answered back with three of their own.
Davis scored an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth to give the Pioneers up 9-2.
Paul Panduro came in to relieve Ohl in the seventh inning and closed out the game striking out one Horsehead batter and getting two putouts to end the game.
Ohl earned the win pitching 6-2/3 innings with six strikeouts surrendering four hits and two runs. In 2-1/3 innings of work, hometown hero Panduro struck out three batters and gave up no hits.
Smelko, Davis and Marroqin led the Pioneers with two RBIs each. Smelko had four hits in five at-bats, Davis was 1-for-3 and was 1-for-2.
Garcia said his team played consistently on offense the whole game.
“The boys got it going and we got some big insurance runs late, and that helps,” he said. “They gave Paulie (Panduro) everything he needed. It was great to have a fully played game from start to finish,” he said.
The Pioneers are back in action against the Horseheads on Wednesday, June 9 at Oregon Trail Park.