McCook sweeps Cougars on opening day
The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team got its season underway by dropping a doubleheader to visiting McCook Community College on Thursday at Cleveland Field in Scottsbluff.
WNCC was outlasted 4-2 in eight innings in the first game before falling 7-1 in the second.
Despite the opening setbacks, WNCC coach Mike Jones was glad to get the season underway.
"It was nice to get out there. It was a good opportunity to get some good at bats and for our pitchers to throw some innings to get some experience early in the season," Jones said. "McCook played really well and they beat us. That's OK because we didn't beat ourselves. It's just game one and game two of a 56-game schedule."
The teams needed extra innings to decide the opening game. After McCook went in front 2-0 in the top of the fourth, WNCC plated single runs in both the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings to pull even. Zach Ostergard's triple pushed across one of the runs.
WNCC looked to be going in front in the sixth inning when Pablo Garcia lifted a long fly ball toward the leftfield fence. However, Garcia's go-ahead home run attempt was robbed when McCook left fielder Grant Hindman leaped high up against the fence and snagged it for the third out.
McCook then plated the game-winning runs in the eighth to squeak out the one-run victory.
WNCC had an opportunity to tie the game in the extra inning. Gabriel DeLa Rosa and Ryan Bender each delivered 2-out singles. Pinch-hitter Nick Vanthillo then launched a shot to right centerfield that would have scored both runners, but McCook's centerfielder made a game-ending, running catch for the win.
The Cougars finished the game with just five hits. Bender led the way with two hits. Ostergard, DeLa Rosa, and Anthony Apadaca all added one hit each. Bender and Apadaca scored one run each, while Ostergard and Garcia had runs batted in.
McCook's Brad Powell earned the win out of the bullpen, while Grant Piccoli took the loss in relief for WNCC. Piccoli allowed two runs on four hits and struck out two in three innings of work.
Grant Rimington got the start on the mound for the Cougars. He allowed two runs on three hits and struck out three in five innings.
In game two, McCook scored in each of the first four innings en route to registering the win. The Indians plated four runs in the top of the third to take a 6-0 advantage.
WNCC's lone run came in the bottom of the seventh on a solo home run off the bat of Ozzie Gonzalez. Gonzalez led the Cougars offensively by going 2-for-3. Also recording hits for WNCC were De La Rosa, Cameron Snyder, and Alex Michaud.
The WNCC offense was stymied by the solid outing by McCook's Tyler Barnes, who struck out seven and scattered five hits in earning the complete-game win on the mound.
The two squads will get together for another doubleheader today at Cleveland Field beginning at 2 p.m. Jones said John Timmins will get the start on the mound in game one for WNCC, while Challis Wright will start game two.
McCook 000 200 02 - 4 7 3
WNCC 000 110 00 - 2 5 1
WP - Brad Powell. LP - Grant Piccoli (0-1).
3B - Zach Ostergard.
McCook 114 100 0 - 7 7 0
WNCC (0-2) 000 000 1 - 1 5 5
WP - Tyler Barnes. LP - Nick Vanthillo (0-1).
HR - Ozzie Gonzalez.
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