The Barton Community College baseball team had its 2015 season come to an end Saturday as the Cougars dropped two games at No. 19 Neosho County Community College. Surrendering a 2-1 ninth inning lead, the Cougars dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 game in the opener and never fully recovered from the walk-off in the nightcap falling 16-6. The pair of losses caps the season at 26-27 under first year Head Coach Brent Biggs.
Sophomore pitcher Jordan Plank completely shut down the Panthers through seven innings spinning a one-hitter as Barton led 1-0 thanks to a Seth Troll two-out RBI single in the fourth driving home Evan McDonald who led off the inning with a double. Striking out the leadoff batter in the eighth, Plank gave up only his second hit of the game but bounced back with his a nine-pitch strikeout to record his eighth of the game. Perhaps taking its toll on Wichita native, Plank then lost a full-count pitch walking only his third batter prompting a call to the bullpen in ace Alexander Evans. Fighting off five 2-2 pitches, the Panther’s Levi Ashmore finally singled up the middle tying the contest as Evans came back striking out the final batter to escape further damage.
As he had done in the fourth, McDonald again led off an inning with a double giving the Cougars an immediate scoring threat to open the ninth. Following a Trevor Turner sacrifice advancing McDonald to third, Grant Watkins singled through the right side pushing Barton ahead 2-1. Tyler Jennings pinch hit for a single up the middle, but Neosho starter Matt Slaughter struck out the final two batters to end the threat.
Evans struck out the first batter of the home half of the ninth but it was the last out he could get as the Panthers delivered on another full-count pitch for a Ryan Toliver single and down 0-2 in the count Blake Tomasino put the game winning play in motion with an infield grounder. Committing only one error in the game, it couldn’t have come at a worse time allowing Toliver to score on the play to tie it u at 2 and Tomasino standing on second with the potential tying run. An intentional walk later to set up a potential double-play, number eight hitter Brady Childs completed his 2-for-4 game with a walk off single to left center scoring Tomasino for the game winner.
Evans took the loss for the Cougars dropping to 1-6 on the season giving up three hits in .2 inning of work while Plank finished his sophomore campaign 7-2 with the no-decision. Outhitting the Panthers 5-4, McDonald’s 2-for-4 was the lone multi-hit performance.
McDonald kept his hot hitting going into the nightcap as he and Turner lead off the game with consecutive singles later scoring on a two-out infield error giving Barton an early 1-0 lead.
Jackson Rose had a rough start on the mound in game two walking the first two batters setting up a four-run Neosho innings on a fielder’s choice, single, and double.
The second inning didn’t start off much better for the freshman as an opening hit batsman followed by an infield error and two singles chased Rose from the game giving way to fellow freshman Ryan McClure. Following a wild pitch and single, a passed ball score the third run of the inning as Neosho took control 7-1 through the first two innings.
Again it was McDonald leading the Cougars as the Platte City, Missouri, native led off the third with a triple scoring one-batter later on a Turner sac fly. Lance White kept the inning alive with a two-out single before Troll shot a double to left field and Jennings single to center drawing the Cougars to within 7-4.
Any hope of Barton pulling the comeback diminished in the home half as the Panthers would plate six beginning with the Cougars’ second error of the game and three consecutive Neosho doubles.
Neosho returned two gifts in the top of the sixth allowing Jacob Richardson and Dylan Kuhn to reach opening up the inning. Getting his third hit of the game and second consecutive extra base hits in as many at-bats, Richardson’s double to left field scored Richardson but it was all the Cougars could score stranding two of their five base runners in the game.
The Panthers would add a single run with two-outs in the sixth then ended the Cougars season in the seventh drawing a bases loaded walk and RBI single to hit the magic ten-run rule.
Rose fell to 6-2 in his freshman campaign as a combined five pitchers did little to slow down the Panther offense surrounding the sixteen runs, seven of those unearned, while giving up thirteen hits, walking nine, and only striking out four.
Leading the eleven hits for the Cougars was McDonald’s 3-for-4 performance as the sophomore wound up his Barton career going 5-for-8 in the doubleheader. Fellow sophomore Trevor Hughes was 2-for-3 in the lineup while White finished 2-for-4 as all but two starters were able to muster a hit.