Another day of solid pitching was not enough as the Barton Community College baseball team split another doubleheader to Western Nebraska Community College today in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. The Cougars easily won 5-1 in game one but five errors proved too costly in the second game as Barton fell 3-2. Getting a combined twenty-two strikeouts on Friday from the pitching staff, Saturday’s hurlers combined for twenty strikeouts, seven hits, and only one earned run. The series split takes Barton to 4-3 on the season as Western Nebraska opens up the season at 2-2. The Cougars’ next action will come next weekend for a three game series at Rose State College.
Spotting WNCC a one run lead in the second, Grant Watkins came through with a two-out bases loaded hit tying the contest. Four pitches later Jacob Richardson, who had drawn a two-out walk to keep the inning alive, scored on a passed ball giving Barton the lead. Bryce Minor pushed the lead out to 3-1 coming through with the RBI driving Evan McDonald home from third.
Lance White traveled the bases courtesy of the WNCC defense in the sixth, reaching base and advancing to second on an error. Dylan Kuhn‘s ground out advanced White to third then two pitches later crossed the plate on a WNCC balk.
A one-out single by McDonald and a Watkins walk followed by a double-steal set up Minor’s sac fly giving Barton an insurance run to the seventh. Despite a one-out full-count walk, Malherbe added two more strikeout victims to finish off the host Cougars 5-1.
Watkins led a seven hit attack going 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Minor drove in two runs behind his 2-of-3 from the plate. Barton had five stolen bases led by McDonald’s two while Watkins, Minor, and Trevor Turner each stole one.
Richardson opened up the second game with a one out single to right field then swiped second three pitches later. McDonald drove a 2-2 pitch up the middle giving Barton an early one run lead.
Cody Brewer, who would become the hard luck loser in game two, gave up a two-run homerun to Ty Wilson after WNCC’s Joe Moran reached on the first of five Barton errors in the contest.
The Cougar defense committed consecutive errors in the bottom of the second setting up Dionisio Diaz’s left field sac fly increasing the WNCC lead out to 3-1.
Richardson again set up Barton’s next run with a one-out trip to center in the fifth. Watkins came through for his second two-out RBI on the day with a single to right easily scoring Richardson to cut the deficit to one.
Barton could only muster a Tyler Jennings bunt single in the sixth as the Cougars went quietly in the seventh so split a doubleheader for the third time in four playing dates.
Brewer took his first loss on the season going 5.0 innings giving up only four hits, no walks, and five strikeouts. Three runs came across the plate during his watch with only one earned as Barton committed four of its five errors in the first four innings. Jayme Lovelace came in to pitch the last inning giving up only a two out hit and striking out two.
For the second straight game Barton finished with seven hits to outslug the Cougars of WNCC 14-7 on the day. Richardson was the lone multi-hit performance with a 2-for-4 effort including the fifth inning triple and a stolen base. Watkins finished 1-for-3 joining Richardson with the lone runs batted in.