With nine games on the week's schedule, the Barton Community College baseball team got off to a great start to the busy week with a four-game series sweep over the past two days hosting Western Nebraska Community College. The Cougars shutout WNCC in Barton's home opener on Sunday 4-0 and 5-0 before wrapping up the series with an 8-3 and 20-3 sweep of Monday's action.
Improving to 8-3 on the season, Barton heads to McPherson today to take on the junior varsity squad from McPherson College in a 3:00 p.m. nine inning contest. The Cougars will then have a road doubleheader at Redlands Community College on Friday before hosting Bethany College's junior varsity at 1:00 p.m. Saturday to conclude the week.
The Barton pitching staff stole the show on Sunday leading to consecutive shutouts in striking out a combined twenty-one batters and scattering eleven hits in sixteen innings of action.
Josh Hendrickson led the staff in the home opener as the reigning conference pitcher of the week struck out ten while scattered five hits in his five innings of work. Ending four of those innings on strikeouts including striking out the final two batters in the second to strand consecutive singles, Hendrickson's biggest threat came in the fifth as a leadoff double would be stranded as the Australian mowed down the final three batters to conclude his day. The victory improved the sophomore transfer's record to 2-0 with 22 strikeouts and lowered his 0.64 ERA in his fourteen innings on the mound.
Moved up to the two hole in the lineup, Kaden Fowler had a solid day batting .429 in leading the offense including a fourth inning leadoff home run for his second of the season giving the Cougars a two run lead. Barton would tack on another in the inning on consecutive doubles by Brett Bonar and Brady Michel for the three run cushion. Fowler would provide the final run with a triple in the sixth on a deep centerfield shot to eventually score on Carson Engroff's sacrifice fly.
Barton put two on the board in the first two innings to spot starter Jarrett Seaton to a four run lead in the nine inning nightcap. Scattering four hits in five innings on the hill, Seaton struck out four to earn the Nebraska sophomore's first win of the season improving to 1-2. Easton Smith would strike out four allowing just two hits in three innings of work with Nolan Riley pitching the ninth striking out one in sending WNCC down in order as the Barton pitching staff racked up twenty-one strikeouts on the day.
Three groundouts and an error provided Barton's first four runs with Engroff's sixth inning single and Michel's second double of the day put the final run on the board with two outs in the five run win.
WNCC began Monday's action with two consecutive two-strike singles before Andrew Repp began to find his groove inducing a fly out and consecutive strikeouts as the Shawnee Heights sophomore would improve to 2-1 on the year fanning four more batters throughout his five innings.
Fowler's single in the home half of the first inning would score on Jared Maneth's double, with Michel's third double of the day putting the Cougars out to the two run advantage. After WNCC got a single run and the Cougars went quiet in the home half of the second, Barton would score at least one run in the next four innings for the 8-3 win.
Bonar led Barton's ten hit output going 3-for-4 as one of Brett Huelsmann and Maneth's two hits were RBI doubles.
The night cap began with WNCC getting on the board but Barton would plate four in the home half with three coming off the bat of Michel driving a three run two-out shot over the left field wall for his first of the season. Brett Erickson followed with a double with Nolan Riley driving in his first collegiate run with a single to left center.
The inning set a tone for the remainder of the twenty-three run game the Cougars would plate four more in the next two innings before putting nine on the board in the fourth for a 17-1 lead as Erickson and Maneth drove in a combined five runs on triples to left center.
WNCC put one run across at the top of the ensuing but a Huelsmann two run double followed by Pomeroy's RBI single wrapped up Barton's scoring with a then eighteen run lead.
Barton pounded out fourteen hits in the seven inning shortened nine inning game, getting two hits each from Pomeroy, Fowler, Erickson, Riley, and Claassen. Pomeroy, Maneth, and Huelsmann each drove in three runs helping Ottawa freshman Zach Curry pick up his first victory.