By JON RATHBUN
Times Sports Editor
LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. — The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs did not have much luck against Elmira starter Bryson Hough Sunday but broke through against the Pioneers’ bullpen and won 6-4 at Veterans Memorial Park.
The DiamondDawgs scored four runs against Zach Bican in the sixth inning to erase a 4-1 deficit and won for the second time in three tries at home. Three Mohawk Valley relievers combined to throw three scoreless innings and Ilion’s Tyler Brien recorded his first Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League save.
Hough held the DiamondDawgs to three hits through five innings. Three consecutive singles against left-hander Zach Bican got Mohawk Valley started in the sixth. Zach Collett and Gus Crag had hits and Eric Strano drove Collett home with his hit. Bican walked pinch-hitter Tyler Lau to load the bases and Justin Thomas tied the game with his two-run single up the middle.
Lau advanced to third base on Thomas’ hit and the DiamondDawgs ran a double steal on Bican’s 3-1 pitch to Jayson Sullivan. Jordan Taylor threw Thomas out at second base but Lau beat the return throw to the plate and Mohawk Valley took a 5-4 lead.
The DiamondDawgs took advantage of an error and added a run in the eighth inning. Strano walked with one out Thomas singles one out later. Thomas’ hit was misplayed in center field, allowing Strano to score and Thomas to advance to third base as the ball rolled to the fence.
Elmira loaded the bases in the seventh inning after falling behind for the first time. Lucas Godlewski retired the first batter then issued a one-out walk. T.J. Dixon and Nick Walker bunted for hits to load the bases with one out and left-hander Evan Kissinger relieved Godlewski. The sidearming Kissinger retired two left-handed batter, Christian Santiseban on a line drive to Thomas at first base and Zac Bellinger on a ground ball to Thomas.
Kissinger got the first two outs in the eighth before issuing a walk. Brien, a sophomore at SUNY-Cortland, walked the first batter he faced — Taylor stole second base and moved to third on an overthrow in the process — but got out of the inning with a force play at second base.
Brien worked around a two-out error in the ninth inning and recorded the last three outs for the save.
Leadoff hitter Chris Kalousdian, a returning all-PGCBL outfielder from Manhattan College, played a key role in building Elmira’s lead. Kalousdian singled, stole a base and scored in the first inning, and homered to put the Pioneers up 4-1 in the fifth.
Thomas had three hits for Mohawk Valley and Craig had two.
Kalousdian, who was also thrown out at the plate in the third inning, was credited with four hits and drew a walk. Dixon added three hits and Walker had two. The bottom six batters in the Elmira lineup combined for one hit and three walks.
Hough struck out five batters and walked one. Mohawk Valley starter Nick Petrella went six innings, allowing four runs – three earned — on seven hits.
The DiamondDawgs hit the road Monday for a game at Glens Falls. They return to Little Falls for back-to-back games Tuesday against Watertown and Wednesday against Amsterdam.