The Barton Community College baseball team completed its four game conference opening sweep over Garden City Community College taking Saturday's doubleheader at Lawson-Biggs Field 3-1 and 12-4.
Barton improves to 12-3 on the season while Garden City drops to 12-7. The Cougars' next series is a four-game set with Hutchinson Community College as both teams received votes in the first national poll released of the season. 1:00 p.m. doubleheaders slated Thursday at Hutchinson's Hobart-Detter Field with the finale on Saturday at Lawson-Biggs Field.
With winds gusting over 40mph through most of the twin bill, game one of the day had the pitchers having the upper hand with four combined hurlers scattering just eight hits.
The Cougars' Jake Skala threw an efficient 84 pitches for the complete game seven inning victory, getting the first batter out in six of the innings leading to a trio of 1-2-3 innings. Improving to 3-0 on the season, the lone leadoff batter to reach came in the fifth inning on an infield error leading to the one run crossing the plate after being sacrificed around the diamond before the Broncbusters delivered a 2-2 pitch for an RBI single.
Due to weather forcing the change of venues for the back leg of the series, the Cougars batted first on Saturday and took advantage of a two-out error and hit by pitch to take the early lead on Charlie Peyla's liner to center.
The Broncbusters committed the second of their four errors in the game to begin the second frame with Trenton Ferguson's leadoff gift of two bags coming on a throwing error scoring an out later on Brett Erickson's groundout.
Barton helped give one back on the fifth inning run to slice the lead in half but two innings later threatened to blow the game open with a bases loaded one-out situation, settling for Peyla's sac fly for just one insurance run.
In game two, Garden City took their first lead of the series in the home half of the second frame as two walks on Barton starter Jacob Ensz beginning the inning resulted in one crossing the plate an out later on a sac fly.
Having sent the Broncbusters down in order in the first, third, and fourth innings, a fifth inning leadoff home run and walk would bring a call to the bullpen. Coleton Crisp took the hill getting the first out but an infield error followed by a ground out added another across the dish for a 3-0 Broncbuster lead.
Nolan Riley, who led the Cougars with a .647 on-base percentage and .583 batting average during the four-game set, finished the weekend strong with a 4-for-4 performance out of the three-hole including a sixth inning leadoff walk followed later in the inning with an RBI triple helping Barton turn a three run deficit into a nine run frame in the series clincher.
Tyler Bandiera's sac fly scored Riley for the first run, with an error on Chandler Bloomer's single to the outfield plating the next as Noah Geekie followed with a lead changing triple. Brett Erickson then connected on an RBI double and after Billy Coleman was hit by a pitch, Andrew Stewart drove the pair home with a double to score two pitches later on Riley's triple. Riley trotted home on passed ball to cap the nine run inning and six run Barton advantage.
Crisp allowed just a two-out single for his remaining two innings on the mound to get the eventual victory improving to 1-1 on the year handling the ball to Joe Richter for the final two innings.
Barton added insurance runs with Peyla's RBI triple in the eighth and two runs in the ninth on Riley earning a bases loaded RBI walk and Geekie driving in a run to cap the Cougars' scoring.
Garden City extended the game in the home half of the ninth as a one-out single moved around the bases on a hit by pitch and single before a two-out hit produced the Broncbusters' last run.
Along with Riley, Geekie also finished above .500 finishing with a .563 average leading the club with nine hits in sixteen at-bats including two doubles and driving in three runs. Peyla drove in six runs in his sixteen at bats including a double and triple with Bandiera hitting the Cougars' lone long ball of the set putting Barton up 8-3 in Friday's game one launching the first pitch of the fifth inning over the left field wall for his second of the season as Barton would go on to the 9-4 win.