NEWARK — Matt Diorio became the second player in the four-year history of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League to hit for the cycle, and the Watertown Rams held off a big Newark Pilots rally to capture a 10-8 victory Sunday night at Colburn Park.
The Rams improved to 8-7 and are over .500 for the first time this season.
Newark (10-6) holds a 1½ game lead over third-place Watertown in the PGCBL West Division. Second-place Elmira (9-6) was idle Sunday and sits a half-game behind Newark.
The Rams will host the Pilots in a doubleheader at 5 tonight at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds with a chance to take over first place in the division.
Diorio finished 5-for-5 with a home run, triple, double and two singles. He joined Larry Balkwill of the Watertown Wizards as the only PGCBL players to hit for the cycle. Balkwill accomplished the feat on June 30, 2011.
Diorio also drove in four runs, and his two-run home run in the first inning gave the Rams an early 3-0 lead.
Zander Clouse picked up the win for Watertown, surrendering four earned runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. Jon Escobar struck out two in a perfect ninth inning to notch his first save of the summer.
Newark scored five runs in the seventh inning to cut its deficit to 10-8. The inning was highlighted by a Logan Boyher two-run triple.
Dominic Lopez finished 2-for-5 with a solo home run, a double and two RBIs for the Rams. His homer came in the first inning, just two batters after Diorio went deep, to give Watertown a 4-0 lead.
Chris Gaetano and Joe Ogren both singled twice for Watertown, which slugged 14 hits and overcame four errors.
After today’s doubleheader, the Rams will be idle Tuesday and then host Elmira on Wednesday in another pivotal divisional matchup.