The Barton Community College baseball team stepped out of conference play with a Tuesday trip to El Reno, Oklahoma, taking game one 3-0 over Redlands Community College (7-13) but dropping an extra inning bottom of the ninth walk-off home run 3-2 loss in spoiling the sweep attempt.
Now 20-7 on the season and atop the league standings at 9-3, the 20th ranked Cougars return to conference action at 1:00 p.m. Thursday traveling to Liberal, Kansas, to begin the first leg of a four-game set against Seward County Community College (6-6, 14-13). Weather permitting, the back end of the series is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. Saturday at Lawson-Biggs Field.
Barton managed just four hits in the opener with two coming in the three-run third inning.
Harrison Denk's second of two hits to lead the Cougars, drove in the first run of the frame as Chandler Bloomer drew a leadoff walk before advancing to third on Brett Erickson's single. Denk created the second run to cross the plate in swiping his first base of the year with Erickson trotting home on an errant throw. Nolan Riley's RBI ground out closed out the scoring.
Patrick McClure's scheduled three innings of three strikeouts and scattering two hit earned the victory improving to 3-0 in getting help with a pair of innings from Clay Wesbrooks and solo frame stints by Coleton Crisp and Tanner Howe in recording the club's fifth shutout of the season.
The Cougars outhit the hosts 8-5 in the nightcap but couldn't string enough big hits together in producing just two runs on the board.
Brett Winkelmann made his first collegiate start on the hill, sending Redlands down in order in the first and third frame and working out of leadoff double in the third innings.
Digging a hole to begin the fourth on a pair of hit batsman and single to load the bases, Winkelmann struck out his fifth batter to that point but a fielder's choice pushed across a go-ahead run.
The Cougars got the equalizer in top of the fifth with Adam Schrag extending the inning on a single advancing into scoring position following a wild pitch. Down 0-2 in count, Billy Coleman drilled a 2-2 pitch to center to tie it up.
The next inning Noah Geekie and Riley hits began the inning with Braden Carpenter loading up the bases taking a hit-by-pitch. Five throws to the plate later and Bloomer got the chance to wear the badge of honor pushing in the go-ahead run. Barton came up empty to increase the lead in striking out and grounding out to end the inning.
Joe Richter took over the mound for the sixth, returning the Cougars back to the plate in sending down Redlands in order.
Things began promising to widen the lead in the top of the seventh with Coleman reaching on his second hit out of the No. 9 hole of the lineup but was picked off first base. Geekie followed with his second hit single but it would be the last of Barton's baserunners.
Scheduled for seven innings, Redlands greeted Riley's first appearance of the season on the hill with a single and double to knot it up at two. Following a wild pitch putting the winning run at third, Riley warmed up and sent the host Cougars down in order on three straight strikeouts.
Barton went silent in their next two at-bats while Redlands threatened again in the eighth as two leadoff walks on reliever Alex Manderino caused a call to the bullpen in bringing in Cade Peters. Getting the first out on a fielder's choice, Schrag began a 5-4-3 double play to close out the threat.
The day came to an abrupt close in the home half of the ninth with Peters (0-1) ahead in the count 1-2 as Joshua Detweiler found the area behind the left field fence for the walk-off homerun giving Redlands the doubleheader split.
Erickson joined Geekie and Coleman with a multi-hit game as the trio combined for six of the eight hits.