July 31, 2016 - Alaska Baseball League (Alaska) - Mat-Su Miners
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Mat-Su Miners used five early runs and a strong pitching performance from Stephen Kolek to secure a 7-4 road win against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots at Mulcahy Stadium on Sunday.
The win gives the Miners home-field advantage in the first round of the Alaska Baseball League playoffs beginning Friday.
"We really want to get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs," Kolek said. "We don't have to worry about traveling anywhere. We want our home crowd to get involved, and it's really motivating for us."
Mat-Su catcher Andy Cosgrove put the Miners on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning with a two-run double to score designated hitter Michael Donadio and third baseman Angelo Armenta.
"I got a 1-0 count and I was thinking that I was probably going to get a fastball," Cosgrove said. "It happened to be a fastball in that situation, and I drove it into the gap and it worked out for me."
Mat-Su (25-17) added another run in the top of the third on an RBI double off the right field wall from first baseman Jake Scudder. Two pitches later, a wild throw from Anchorage starter Trent Lunsford allowed Donadio to score.
Rightfielder Cam Montgomery tacked on a fifth run with a double to score Scudder and give the Miners a 5-0 lead.
The Glacier Pilots (22-21) cut the deficit to four in the bottom of the third when Nate Eikhoff singled with the bases loaded against Kolek. The Mat-Su starter escaped the early jam with a groundout to end the inning.
Kolek provided the Miners with seven innings on the mound in his seventh Alaska Baseball League appearance. The Texas A&M right-hander held the Glacier Pilots to one run and four hits while collecting seven strikeouts.
"I felt like I had most of my pitches working for me," Kolek said. "I was just trying to pound the strike zone and get ahead of guys when I could."
Shortstop Josh Bissonette added an insurance run for the Miners with an RBI single in the top of the sixth to score Cosgrove after he was hit by a pitch.
"It felt pretty good to get that run," Cosgrove said. "Not saying it was on purpose, but as soon as I got to home I made sure to step on the plate a couple of times."
A defensive error by Anchorage in the following inning allowed Donadio to reach home for his second run of the day, increasing the Mat-Su lead to six runs.
Anchorage rallied in the bottom of the eighth when Dashawn Kiersey Jr. forced a throwing error from Mat-Su reliever Gage Burland to score Jeremiah Burks. Isaac Feldstein followed with a two-run double to cut the deficit to 7-4.
With runners in scoring position, Burland forced a strikeout and infield pop fly to retire the side.
Miners closer Jordan Floyd entered in the ninth and added a perfect inning of relief to earn his ninth save in league play.
The loss marked the final game of the regular season for Anchorage and drops the Glacier Pilots to third in the Alaska Baseball League standings.
Mat-Su travels to Lee Jordan Field at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to face the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks before taking on the Peninsula Oilers in a home matchup on Wednesday.