Gustavo Pierre drove in four runs for Ottawa last night. (Ron Patey file photo)

The Ottawa Champions blasted the Sussex County Miners 11-4 last night as Ottawa won for the 10th time in its last 11 starts and climbed to within a half-game of the final playoff spot.

It was an offensive explosion for the Champions who manufactured three-run innings three different times throughout the ballgame.

Things got off to a great start for the Champions in the first inning as the first two men reached base. However, they would not capitalize even after loading the bases with two outs. Tyson Gillies hit a short pop fly to the pitcher to end the inning.

The Champions finally broke through in the fourth with a three run inning.

Once again it began with the first two runners reaching base, then Gillies doubled down the first base line to score one. The next batter, Gustavo Pierre, cranked a double off the centre-field wall, which scored two more runners.

Champions starter’ Steve Borkowski ran into some trouble in the sixth as he gave up back-to-back walks. Those walks turned into runs after a double and sacrifice fly to make it 3-2. Borkowski (W, 5-5) went six innings, only allowing two earned runs with five strikeouts.

Gianni Zayas (L, 5-6), who is a Can-Am League all-star, struggled with his command throughout his six innings of work. He issued five walks on the night while allowing three runs on four hits.

The seventh inning has not been kind to the Miners who have been outscored 55-23 this season during that frame. Fortunately for the Champions they were able to take advantage of this.

After loading the bases again with two outs, Gillies chopped a dribbler to the first baseman and was able to avoid the tag. The throw to the covering second baseman was high and Gillies reached on the error allowing a run to score.

Then for the second time in the game, Pierre connected for a long two-RBI double. Pierre racked up four RBI in the game and increased the Champions lead to 6-2.

However, the Miners would answer in the bottom half in a big way.

With Noah Gapp in the game for the Champions, Jarred Mederos launched a two run shot to cut the lead to 6-4.

Gapp didn’t let the home run get to him as he struck out three straight batters to get out of the inning and went three innings to finish the game.

Things went from bad to worse for the Miners in the eighth inning as the Champions connected for yet another three-run inning.

It began with a throwing error by the second baseman Rubi Silva, which allowed a run to score. Later, Steve Nyisztor trotted home after a wild pitch and to cap it off Gillies smacked an RBI single into right field. The Champions lead 9-4.

In the ninth the Champions would add the exclamation point as Nyisztor launched a two-run shot, his first as a Champion, to make it 11-4.

The two teams will meet again tonight with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 at Skylands Stadium. Daniel Cordero (5-3) takes to the mound for Ottawa against Sussex’s Kris Regas (5-4).

In other Can-Am League action, Quebec rolled over Rockland 5-1 and New Jersey beat Trois-Rivieres 10-8.

-Ottawa Champions