The Barton Community College baseball team began Thursday's doubleheader at Dodge City Community College with a 5-4 victory before coming up short in a pitching staff duel 2-0 to split the twin bill.
The back end of the four-game series resumes at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday to conclude the regular reason with both teams fighting for playoff positioning as the Cougars sit in fifth place at 16-14 and 32-19 on the year while Dodge City keeps hope alive for the top eight with a ninth place standing of 7-23 and 25-27 overall.
Game One Recap
Seven of Barton's ten hits in the opener were for extra bases with two of the Cougars' five doubles coming in the first inning from consecutive at-bats from Andrew Stewart and Harrison Denk providing a 1-0 lead.
A pair of extras were long fly variety as Charlie Peyla pushed the margin to two in the ensuing second frame on his fourth home run of the year with Tyler Bandiera's third of the season providing the eventual game winner in the sixth.
Dodge City cut Barton's lead in half on a two-out solo third inning home run then took the lead in the next frame behind a single and ground rule double plating one with subsequent single giving the Conqs a 3-2 lead.
Following Bandiera providing an insurance run with the sixth inning dinger, a two-out double and single sliced the margin back to one but Coleton Crisp struck out the final batter protecting Zach Curry's stint on the hill.
Curry struck out five in his 5.2 innings improving to 7-2 on the year with Crisp getting the next three outs before turning over the closing batter to Patrick McClure in earning a first collegiate save.
Game Two Recap
The Cougars received another strong performance on the hill from starter Easton Smith, scattering four hits and striking out seven without any free passes in six innings to take a hard luck loss dropping to 4-2 on the year.
The Cougar bats could muster just three hits in the nine inning game as the Conqs two of its six hits aided by a two-out error provided a lone winning run to cross and spoil Smith's three strikeouts of the fifth frame.
Barton had its best chances to score in leaving a pair of runners aboard in the eighth and ninth including Stewart's third double of the day leading off the ninth.
Dodge City doubled up their lead in the home half of the eighth inning, tacking its second unearned run as a leadoff single eventually crossed the plate.