By PATRICK SLACK
Pierz attempted a double steal in the top of the fifth inning against visiting Holdingford, Tuesday.
It didn’t bring the runner in from third, but did put the trail man in scoring position, allowing both to score on a go-ahead double.
The Huskers tried the same play with runners at the corners in the bottom of the sixth, trailing by one.
The Pioneers were ready, though, not falling for the decoy and pegging the baserunner straying down the third-base line for the final out, earning a 3-2 win in the opening game of a Central Minnesota Conference (CMC) doubleheader, followed by a 4-0 Pierz shutout.
After coming up empty after loading the bases in the second inning of the opener, Holdingford made Pierz pay for a pair of defensive mistakes in the third.
With runners at first and second and no outs in a bunting situation, Pierz caught the lead runner too far off the bag, but failed to pick up an out due to an interference call.
The Huskers then brought both runners in with a wind-aided two-base error to take a 2-0 lead.
The score held until the bottom of the fifth, when a walk by junior Nathan Athman and base hit by junior Mac Gruber ignited a Pierz rally.
Athman dashed home with the Pioneers’ first run on a wild pitch, with Gruber working his way over to third.
Senior Brad Meyer followed with a walk, then attempted to get caught in a rundown to allow the tying run to score.
The Huskers didn’t take the bait, but Meyer did steal second, then came home to score with Gruber on a booming two-out, two-run double to deep left by senior Cody Weiss.
Weiss’ clutch hit also allowed him to pick up the win pitching, as he struck out 10 batters over 5 2/3 innings.
Junior Jake Nelson went 2-for-3 with a triple and senior Sam Butler also had two hits for Holdingford.
Senior Ben Boser caught fire in the finale, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and two runs to provide more than enough offense for Pierz, with Meyer tossing a five-hit shutout.
Senior Brady Dorn added a pair of hits and Weiss doubled and reached base three times.
Nelson picked up two more hits for the Huskers.
“We played a very nice game,” Pierz head coach Dan Saehr said. “We made some great plays in the field and Brad Meyer pitched a great game.”
Holdingford 2 6 2
Pierz 3 3 3
Holdingford—Jake Nelson: 2-3, 3B, R; Sam Butler: 2-4, R.
Pierz—Mac Gruber: 1-1, R, SB; Cody Weiss: 1-2, 2B, 2-RBI; Ben Boser: 1-3; WP-Weiss: 5 2/3-IP, 6-H, 2-R, 0-ER, 4-BB, 10-K; SV-Brad Meyer: 1/3-IP, 0-H, 0-R, 0-BB, 0-K.
Pierz 4 9 0
Holdingford 0 5 2
Pierz—Ben Boser: 4-4, 2-2B, 2-R, RBI, SB; Brady Dorn: 2-4, RBI, SB; Cody Weiss: 1-2, 2B, R, 2-BB; Chris Ortman: 1-1; WP-Brad Meyer: 6-IP, 5-H, 0-R, 0-BB, 1-K.
Holdingford—Jake Nelson: 2-3.