Cougar baseball drops twin bill to Blue Dragons; Series resumes Sunday in Hutchinson #GoBarton #RoarCougs

Barton baseball Brett Erickson makes a tag on a Hutchinson runner

The Barton Community College baseball team not only took its first home loss but had a doubleheader split slip through their grasp as Hutchinson Community College swept Friday's conference games at Lawson-Biggs Field 7-2 and 9-8.

The 18th ranked Cougars slide from the top spot into a third place tie with Hutchinson early in the Jayhawk season at 4-2, dropping to 12-5 on the year with Hutchinson improving to 13-7. The series shifts to Hutchinson's Hobart-Detter Field on Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader slated.

On a day the Cougars never really seemed in stride, the rare twin defeats were the first pair of home conference losses on a single day dating back to April 15 of the 2016 season.

Barton ace Zach Curry (2-1) lasted just 1.1 innings with two walks beginning the second frame as Hutchinson jumped out to lead on Max McGuire's two RBI single. Another walk later and Curry was relieved on the mound for the shortest outing of the sophomore's career.

The lead grew by one in the third as Zane Schmidt's leadoff triple scored an out later on Dylan Nedved's single.

The Cougars mounted a comeback in the home half of the sixth as Casey Wulfkuhle's RBI triple to right center broke the scoreboard goose egg. In a turn of events, Hutchinson made the defensive play of the game one batter later gunning out Wulfkuhle at the plate on Andrew Stewart's fielder's choice to first. Nolan Riley followed with an RBI double to left center that would have tied the game had it not been for the play at the plate. In their last at-bat of the opener, Trenton Ferguson's two-out double to the same left center gap but would be left stranded after just the Cougars' fourth hit of the opener.

Easton Young pitched a solid five innings taking over the mound in the second, surrendering the third inning run but managing the game until the seventh giving up a one-out single and walk. The Blue Dragons earned another walk on reliever Joe Richter before a pair of singles and balk on Patrick McClure generated four runs securing the victory.

Miguel Reyes, Jr., earned the complete game win improving to 1-2 on the year, limiting the Barton offense to the four hits and striking out five.

Hutchinson wasted little time roughing up game two starter Easton Smith as Brian Skillman's leadoff walk scored on Logan Sartori's triple to right field. Smith induced the first of four Cougar double play balls on the day but Sartori scooted home on the play in the Dragon opening frame.

Will Reetz' leadoff home run in the second frame pushed the lead to three with the Cougar middle infield of Brett Erickson and Stewart closing out the inning on another double play.

Riley connected for his second two-bag hit of the afternoon in the home half of the third, fighting off a pair of 1-2 two-out pitches in driving a bases clearing double down the left field line to tie it up at three.

Following the Law Firm of Erickson-Stewart-Riley rolling up their fourth straight inning of double plays, the Cougars took the lead in the ensuing fourth.

Carson Zenger, inserted into the lineup to begin the frame, led off with the first of his two doubles in the game. Tyler Bandiera's perfectly placed bunt put runners at the corners with Trenton Ferguson providing a go-ahead with a sac fly. Erickson extended the inning with a single then stole second base allowing Bandiera to cross the dish safely for a 5-3 Barton lead.

The advantage was short lived with Brett Winkelmann taking over on mound with Ryan Moritz's leadoff double and Skillman reaching on hit batter setting up the lead flip-flop. Clay Wesbrooks came out of the pen but a costly infield error loaded the bases before a passed ball plated one. Schmidt then delivered his second of three RBIs of the game stroking a single to right field putting Hutchinson in front at 6-5.

Barton answered back in the bottom of the frame with Zenger pushing Riley's walk and Noah Geekie's double across the plate with a two-base hit to center and Bandiera's single up the middle.

Wesbrooks sent the Dragons down in order in the sixth but Wulfkuhle and Stewart's walk in the home half came up empty with Hutchinson rolling up a double-play to thwart the threat.

Hutchinson cut the deficit to one getting a Nedved RBI single as a wild pitch helped move a one-out single into scoring position.

Into the ninth, the Cougars went with closer Tanner Howe looking to protect the one run lead. Schmidt had other ideas lifting a 1-2 pitch just far enough to clear the right field wall for the leadoff game tying homerun. Metzger followed with a double and one out later Hutchinson seized the lead on Reetz go-ahead left field single.

Capping the day of oddities, Howe took the blown save for the first time in seven chances this season and ten of the sophomore's career to drop to 1-1.

Matt Delcambre (2-0) earned the win pitch three innings of relief with Zach Firmature sending the Cougars down in order in the ninth picking up his second save.

Erickson led the Cougars with four hits on the afternoon, going 4-of-6 out of the nine-hole. Bandiera provided a 3-for-6 twin games with Riley leading with four runs batted in and matching Zenger's pair of doubles.