Dramatic 10-9 win gives T-Birds sweep of Cougars
GREAT BEND — The Cloud County Thunderbirds built a 7-0 lead, gave up that lead, and then scored a run in the top of the 11th inning to squeeze out a 10-9 win over Barton Community College in the second game of a Jayhawk Conference West Division doubleheader Sunday.
After splitting with Barton in the first two games of the series Friday in Concordia, the T-Birds won game one on Sunday, 11-6.
Cloud County then completed the sweep with a dramatic victory in the second game to improve to 24-14 overall and 12-8 in conference play.
“These games were huge for us in a lot of ways. But, more gratifying than anything, this team had a lot of fun,” Cloud County coach Eric Gilliland said, “It was one of those days where we had a lot of fun at the ball park. Those wins were huge, no other way around it. It keeps us alive and all options are open. Bit time effort from our guys to sweep a team on the road that went to the NJCAA World Series last year.”
Jackson Dietl hit a three-run home run for the T-Birds in the top of the first inning in game two. He was 4-for-6 in the game, with six runs batted in and scored three runs.
Cloud County added three runs in the second inning to make it a 6-0 game.
Alex Rice scored on a single by Clay Loranger.
Dietel doubled to drive in Loranger and Kade Wallace.
A solo home run by Griffin Larsen in the top of the third inning gave the T-Birds a 7-0 cushion.
Scoreless through the first four innings, Barton picked up one run in the fifth inning, one in the sixth, and four in the seventh to close the gap to 7-6.
Loranger singled to drive in Ramon Vingochea in the top of the eighth inning to give Cloud County an 8-6 advantage.
The Cougars answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to take their first lead, 9-8.
Dietel hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 9-9 and force extra innings.
After a scoreless 10th inning, Cloud County loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the 10th.
Blake Manuel grounded into a double play, but Dietl scored the go-ahead run.
Trey Asher shut out Barton in the bottom of the 11th to preserve the win.
Asher worked three scoreless innings to get the win. He gave up four hits and struck out one.
Dietel started and went six innings. He allowed two runs on six hits, struck out six and walked two.
Jack Theilen and Bradan Pierce worked one inning each.
Loranger had three hits and drove in two runs for the T-Birds. Vingochea also had three hits.
Wallace had two hits in five at bats.
Cloud County trailed 4-2 heading into the sixth inning in game one.
Blasting three home runs, the T-Birds erupted for seven runs in the top of the sixth to go up 9-4.
Davis Pratt led off with a solo home run.
Larsen homered with Manuel aboard.
Dietl knocked in Loranger with a single, and Schmidt followed with a three-run home run.
Barton made it a 9-6 game with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
A double by Wallace in the top of the seventh got Loranger and Vingochea home with a pair of insurance runs.
Josh Laukkanen pitched five and two-thirds innings to get the win. He gave up six runs on nine hits, struck out four, and walked two.
Corben Peters allowed one hit in an inning and a third. He struck out two.
Schmidt drove in four runs for the T-Birds.
Loranger was 2-for-2 with four runs scored.
Wallace and Larsen had two hits and drove in two runs each.
Bouncing back from an 8-2 loss in the first game of the doubleheader played Friday in Concordia, the T-Birds scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to grab the 4-3 win in game two.
Cloud County took a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Joseph Karall shut out Barton over the first five innings, before giving up one run in the sixth.
The Cougars then scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 3-1 lead.
The T-Birds rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to go back on top, 4-3.
Cloud County had two on base when a single by Loranger got past a Barton outfielder, allowing two runs to score.
Manuel then drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single.
“I am happy for Blake. He's been here as long a time as I have, both of us in our third year, and he's never once made us question his buy-in,” Gilliland said.
The Cougars loaded the bases with two out in the top of the ninth inning.
Dietel got a ground ball back to the mound to get the final out and record the save.
Dietel pitched one scoreless inning and did not allow a hit. He struck out one and walked two.
Karall allowed one run on four hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked two.
Corben Peters worked two innings to get the win. He gave up two runs on two hits and struck out two.
Pratt had three hits in the game for Cloud County.
Loranger and Laukkanen had two hits each.
In the first game on Friday, Barton took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
Cloud County scored one run the bottom of the second.
Two runs in the third inning gave the Cougars a 4-1 cushion.
The T-Birds made it 4-2 with a run in the fifth inning.
Barton added two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to extend the lead to 8-2.
Cloud County committed seven errors in the game, and gave up four unearned runs.
“We didn't throw enough strikes, didn't take care of the baseball, and didn't score runners in scoring positions when we had chances in game one,” Gilliland said, “For whatever reason, it was the first time this year I felt we didn't play with great effort or great mentality. I think we're fortunate to come away with a win with how we played most of the day.”
Tylor Jans took the loss. He gave up four runs, two earned, on three hits, struck out five and walked five in five innings.
Thielen, Carson Marsh, and Jacob Dauer pitched relief.
Two Barton pitchers limited the T-Birds to two runs on just three hits.