NJC sweeps Cougars in baseball

TERLING, Colo. -- The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team dropped a doubleheader to Northeastern Junior College on Saturday in Sterling, Colo.

In the first game, the Cougars outhit the Plainsmen, but lost 2-1 with a solo home run in the seventh inning. Then, in the second game, the Cougars managed just two hits in falling to NJC 11-1 in Empire Conference action.

In the opener, sophomore Challis Wright tossed a gem, but couldn't get the win on the scoreboard. Wright went 6 1/3 innings in allowing just three hits and striking out four.

The only two runs the Plainsmen needed came off of home runs. Brandon Baeckel opened the scoring with a 2-out home run over the right field fence for a 1-0 lead. The winning home run came in the seventh with one out as Jordan Procyshen went yard for the game winner.

WNCC, however, battled Region IX's second place team to the end. The Cougars outhit NJC 7-3 and had plenty of scoring opportunities. WNCC opened the second inning with back-to-back singles by Oswaldo Gonzalez and Alex Michaud to start the inning, but both were stranded in scoring position.

WNCC also had a base runner in the third and fourth, but couldn't score. Finally in the fifth, WNCC scratched across a run and could have had more. Zach Ostergard started things with a double and scored on a Keeton Krause double to tie the game at 1-1.

The Cougars had prime scoring opportunities in the seventh as Pablo Garcia doubled followed by Ostergard earning a walk. Two outs later, JT Core reached base on a catcher's interference to load the bases, but the bases were left loaded as the third out was made at home plate.

WNCC was led by Michaud and Krause with two hits each. Michaud, Krause, Garcia and Ostergard all recorded doubles in the game.

The second game saw NJC's Ryan Reno toss a tw0-hitter and strike out seven in getting the six-inning win.

Offensively, the Cougars managed just two hits, both from Cameron Snyder, including a double.

NJC, in the meantime, managed 11 hits, including home runs from Danny Westerburg and Brandon Baeckel. The Plainsmen also took advantage of seven Cougar fielding errors. NJC opened the scoring quickly, scoring three times in the first and twice in the second for a 5-0 lead.

The Plainsmen went up 8-0 before the Cougars got on the scoreboard as Pablo Garcia scored on a passed ball in the fifth inning.

The two teams will be back in action Sunday in another conference doubleheader at Sterling, Colo. The games were moved from Scottsbluff to Sterling because of unplayable conditions at Cleveland Field. Grant Rimington will get the nod in game one while Nick Vanthillo will start game two.

The losses drops WNCC to 5-12 in conference play and 12-27 overall, while NJC moves to 15-6 in conference and 27-18 overall.

First Game

WNCC 000 010 0 -- 1 7 0

NE Colo. 100 000 1 -- 2 3 2

LP -- Challis Wright. 2B -- Keeton Krause, Alex Michaud, Pablo Garcia, Zach Ostergard.

Second Game

WNCC 000 010 -- 1 2 7

NE Colo. 320 321 -- 11 13 2

LP -- Grant Piccolli; 2B Cameron Snyder.

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