Brian Bistagne homered in the eighth to give Ottawa the win. (Ron Patey photo)

The Ottawa Champions were able to capitalize on strong pitching and a late homer to pick up a much-needed 3-2 win over the Sussex County Miners on Friday night at RCGT Park. It was Ottawa’s first home game after a seven-game road trip where they only managed only one victory.

Champions’ starter Pat Peterson turned in a stellar outing. He went seven innings while allowing two runs and striking out six.

The Champions got on the board early as they took a 1-0 lead after the first. They increased that lead to 2-0 in the second when Matt Helms launched his third home run of the year.

Starter Pat Peterson hurled a terrific game for the Champions. (Ron Patey photo)

The Miners answered in the third with an RBI single off the bat of former Champion Nick Giarraputo.

Then in the fifth, Sussex catcher Nate Irving ripped a solo shot over the left field wall to tie the game 2-2. Irving continued his red-hot streak against the Champions this season by going two for two to raise his season’s average to .400.

Things got interesting in the sixth with two outs as Miners’ starter Michael Tamburino attempted to pickoff Sebastien Boucher at first base seven times. Then, Ricky Oropesa hit a pop-up behind the plate, which was dropped by Irving for an error.

Nate Irving scores a run for Sussex County. (Ron Patey photo)

This allowed the inning to continue and Oropesa capitalized by hitting one into the gap. After a walk to load the bases, Helms hit a flare down the leftfield line that was run down and ended the inning to keep the score knotted at 2-2.

The Champions came out with a bang in the bottom of the eighth. A leadoff homer from Brian Bistagne put Ottawa up 3-2. It was Bistagne’s first dinger as a member of the Champions and it turned out to be the game-winning run.

Alex Luna (1-0) picked up his first win of the season in relief. Raydel Sanchez came into the game in the ninth and recorded his second save of the season.

Ottawa will continue its series with Sussex County tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 at RCGT Park.

In other Can-Am League action, Trois-Rivieres edged New Jersey, 9-8 and Quebec shaded Rockland, 6-5.

-Ottawa Champions