Goldpanners

Alaska Goldpanners pitcher Stone Hewlett throws a pitch. Photo courtesy of Alexis Friedman.

Thursday evening saw Fresno State product Ryan Pierce become a hero thanks to his go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth inning which ultimately gave the Alaska Goldpanners the win.

Friday evening, Pierce went from hero to legend with his performance.

Pierce went 4-for-5 with three runs and five RBI’s to lead the ‘Panners to a 12-10 win over OC Riptide. The win put Alaska at 5-2 this season and gave them their fourth win in a row.

“It was fun man,” said relief pitcher Stone Hewlett. “It feels good to be out here. It was nice to have the defense behind me today. I really enjoyed it.

Things got off to about as bad of a start as you could imagine for Alaska. After starting pitcher Same Brady loaded the bases, Seth Beckstead of Tulane University hit one over the left field fence for a grand slam to put the Riptide up 4-0 in the top of the first.

The Goldpanners struck back in the bottom of the inning, however. After loading the bases, Pierce picked up an RBI single to score Marco Pirruccello and get the ‘Panners on the board. The next at-bat, Noah Turley managed to score on a passed ball to cut the deficit to two. After the bases were loaded again, catcher Alton Gyselman managed to reach first on a throwing error allowing David Martin to score and shave the deficit to one. Then, with two outs and the bases loaded once more, Pierce managed to make it home on a wild pitch to tie the game up at 4-4 at the end of the first inning.

OC was right back at it in the top of the second, however. After Spencer Serven reached first on an error and stole second, Edarian Williams’ RBI double sent him home. Severn made it home the next at bat on a throwing error from the catcher to third base to make it a 6-4 game. Both runs occurred with two outs on the board.

In the bottom of the second the Goldpanners continued to fight. After Pirruccello’s double to right field Turley managed to reach first on an error allowing Pirruccello to score. Later in the inning, Pierce showed the fans in attendance how much he loves playing at Growden when he hit one over the left field fence in the same spot as yesterday. That two-run home run score Turley and himself to put Alaska in the lead 7-6.

The way things went early on, the biggest surprise was when neither team managed to score in the third inning.

Pierce must really like something about Fairbanks because he remained on fire in the bottom of the fourth. With Martin and Grady Morgan already on base, Pierce’s double deep down the left field line scored both of them to put the ‘Panners up 9-6.

After a scoreless inning and a half, the Pierce continued to pile it on in the bottom of the sixth. The first baseman collected his fourth hit on a single and later crossed home on a hit from Dominic Hughes. Travis Warinner got in on the fun after his two-run single scored Carson Gross and Hughes to make it a 12-6 game in favor of Alaska.

In the ninth inning, it looked like it was all about to come apart.

The Riptide managed to get four runs on the board in the final inning and cut the deficit to 12-10. The bases were loaded with two outs as Serven, the leadoff hitter, stepped up to the plate. Relief pitcher Christopher Tonna managed to get the strikeout to end the game all the same.

In addition to Pierce, Morgan also had a multi-hit game as he went 2-for-6. Brady struggled through three innings in giving up six earned runs, but Hewlett came in to pitch four scoreless innings in which he gave up just one hit, walked four, and struck out four.

The Goldpanners played again on Saturday in a game that ended after press time against OC Riptide.

Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-730 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.