The Barton Community College baseball team concluded its regular season today traveling to Topeka and coming away with a doubleheader split in hosting Cloud County Community College. Having moved the games to Washburn University's Falley Field due to wet field conditions at Lawson-Biggs Field, the No. 18 ranked Cougars took game one 5-2 but dropped the four-game series finale 7-2 as the T-Birds scored seven runs in the final three innings to earn the split.
Having already wrapped up hosting a home playoff series beginning on Friday, Barton will play the waiting game for its seeding and opponent as games are still yet to be played around the conference. Barton concludes the regular season with its best conference mark since 2006, sitting in second place at 21-11, while surpassing the forty win mark for the first time since 2002, finishing at 40-16. Taking two of four from the Cougars, Cloud County secured the sixth spot in the Jayhawk West finishing at 12-20 and 27-29 overall.
Cole Henley began his 3-for-3 game getting the first of his four hits in the doubleheader on his fifth homerun of the year, coming with one-out in the home half of the second to answer Cloud County's run in the top half of the inning.
Following Trey Pittman and Henley's singles to lead off the fifth inning, Alan Clark came through with a big two-out hit driving the pitch past third providing the go-ahead run. The Cougars tacked on another two-out run in the following frame as Kaden Fowler kept the inning alive with his eleventh double of the year and a Pittman hit by pitch later, Henley delivered his fifth double of the year giving Barton a 3-1 lead.
Winning pitcher Jarrett Seaton picked off his second of the game and seventh of the season erasing a sixth inning leadoff single but the T-Birds would strike for a double. Seaton then came back with his seventh strikeout of the game before being lifted for Taylor Langston. Pinch hitter Enrique Gonzalez would fight off a 2-2 pitch delivering an RBI single to cut Barton's lead to one.
Derek Johnson, who came in to play right field replacing Langston on the double switch, led off the home half with his second double of the year, advancing to third on a Clark fly out. Michael Sinks joined him on the paths drawing a walk before swiping his fourteenth stolen base of the year before Corrigan Bartlett drove home the insurance runs with a single to left.
The victory marked the Cougars' 40th win of the season as Seaton improved to 10-1 in his freshman campaign as Langston nailed down his sixth save of the year working the sixth before sending the T-Birds down in order in the seventh.
Each team rolled up double plays in the night cap's first inning as the Cougars rolled up a 1-6-3 inning killer while the T-Birds rolled up a double play to erase Sink's leadoff single. Cloud County's Drew Scrimsher and Patrick Rosborough dueled with the Cougars' Andrew Repp through the first six innings of the nine inning contest as Repp exited for the seventh having struck out five and scattering four hits.
The T-Birds wasted little time jumping on reliever Brant Millerborg, opening the seventh with a single and double before a one-out RBI single broke through on the scoreless game. Two more runs would cross the plate with two outs on a bunt single and double as Barton would turn to Dawson Pomeroy to close it out with the is 36th strikeout of the year.
Barton would also spring to life in the inning, loading the bases before Sinks came through with a clutch two-out double for his team leading 53rd RBI cutting the deficit to one.
Two batters into the eighth, Cloud County would get the two runs back with a leadoff walk followed by a home run. Three consecutive singles to load the bases and a groundout tacked on another with a walk to reload the bags chasing Pomeroy from the game. Neil Lemmons took the hill inducing a sac fly before ending the four-run inning with a strikeout.
The Cougars had a chance to cut into the deficit as a Brett Bonar single and a two-out Henley single and Langston walk loaded the bases but the Cougars were left scoreless. Barton would attempt to make a ninth inning comeback with Clark getting hit by a pitch to lead off the inning but Pomeroy's two out double was all the Cougars could generate in stranding eleven runners on the base paths.
Millerborg took the loss dropping to 0-3 on the season while Rosborough's five innings of work improved the freshman's record to 4-7.
Barton will open post-season play this Friday at Lawson-Biggs Field, hosting a first round best-of-three series for the first time since 2008. Games times and opponent yet to be determined and will be released later in the week.