GERING — The Western Nebraska Pioneers got strong pitching from starter Tyler Bryant and also clutch hitting in a season-opening 8-5 win over the North Platte Tuesday night at Oregon Trail Park Stadium.
“Tyler went out and has six innings of one-run baseball and two hits,” Pioneers coach Brandon Nelson said. “Offense jumped out early for us and then we were able to hold on to it luckily. I think we got a little complacent once we got that lead at the plate but that is part of the game.
“We will get those adjustments worked out and those guys will be just fine,” Nelson said. Everyone did their job today and everyone gave everything they had and that is all I ask. This is my eighth year as a college coach and fourth as a head coach and, for me, it is the most talented team that I have ever had. I am extremely excited, and this team can do a lot of really good things especially once they get into the flow of playing with each other and learning each other. It will be a lot of fun to watch these guys go.”
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The Pioneers and Plainsmen continue the opening series Wedensday at Oregon Trail Park Stadium.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
While Bryant, the Ottawa University pitcher, was throwing strong, the Pioneers offense got things going with two runs in the second and five in the third for a 7-0 lead.
Brad Hallock, the Northern Colorado sophomore, scored the Pioneers first run of the season on a single.
Western Nebraska’s big hit in the third inning was a two-run double by Scottsbluff High graduate and Western Nebraska Community College baseball player Hunter McCollum. The Pioneers plated three more runs in the frame
North Platte ended the shutout bid in the fifth as Noah Prince, a sophomore from Southwestern College and from Castle Rock, Colorado, smacked a solo home run.
Western Nebraska got that run back with a run in the bottom of the eighth.
The Plainsmen loaded the bases in the ninth and scored two runs on a hit and two more on a throwing error but could come no closer.