The Hastings Sodbusters held off a ninth-inning rally by the Western Nebraska Pioneer in posting the 5-2 win Thursday night at Oregon Trail Park Stadium.
The Pioneers couldn’t get much going offensively all night until the ninth inning. A big factor was both team’s starting pitchers, who were going strong to start the game.
Pioneer starter Bradley Mullan went five strong innings in allowing four hits and striking out nine. Likewise, Mullan’s pitching counterpart Evans Hendricks went 6 2/3 innings in allowing just two hits and one run, which was unearned. Hendricks walked five and struck out six.
It was Hastings, however, that struck first with four runs in the sixth on three hits for the 4-0 lead. Hastings added another run in the seventh on just one hit for a 5-0 lead.
Western Nebraska finally cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh when Thomas Gavello earned a 4-pitch walk and came racing home on a passed ball.
The score remained 5-1 until the ninth when the Pioneers made a run. Josh Davis started the rally with a first-pitch single to left field. With two outs, Cameron Skinner walked and then Ethan Loveless loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. Davis came in to score on a wild pitch. Spencer Marenco then earned a walk to load the bases again, but the Pioneers couldn’t get any more runs across the plate as they left the bases juiced when the final out was made.
Hastings finished with 10 hits led by Efry Cervantes with three including a double and two RBIs. Tayten Tredaway also had two hits in the win.
Western Nebraska had just three hits, all singles off the bat of Davis, Luis Alcantara and Jason Luke.
In other games in the Expediation League on Thursday, the Fremont Moo stayed on top of the Clark Division with a 7-4 win over Pierre. The Souris Valley Sabre Dogs earned an 8-4 win over the Badlands Big Sticks. The Pioneers are now 6.5 games behind division-leading Fremont.
Western Nebraska will begin a 3-game series with the Badlands Big Sticks on the road before hosting the Big Sticks for three games at Oregon Trail Park Stadium beginning Monday, Aug. 3 for four games.
Hastings 000 004 100 – 5 10 0
Pioneers 000 000 101 – 2 3 0
WP – Evans Hendricks; LP – Paul Panduro
2B – Hastings (Efry Cervantes, Grant Schmidt, Griffin Everitt)
HR – Hastings (D. Behling).