T-Birds split in four-game road series against Fort Scott

T-Birds split in four-game road series against Fort Scott
FORT SCOTT, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College baseball team had an encouraging 48 hours out at LaRoche Baseball Complex as the T-Birds earned a four-game series split against Fort Scott Community College to begin the 2018 season.
 
"I thought we did some really, really good things throughout the series and played really well for about 90 percent of it," said Cloud County head coach, Eric Gilliland. "Unfortunately, the 10 percent of the time we didn't play magnified into two losses. While we're happy that we came down here and played well, it would have been nice to win the series because we felt we put ourselves in a position to do that."
 
Game One Recap 
The series with the Greyhounds (2-2 overall) got off to a tough start for the T-Birds in Game One on Thursday as they fell 6-5 in walk-off fashion.
 
Cloud County (2-2) took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, but had two walks and an error in the inning open the door for Fort Scott to rally back and steal the victory.
 
Freshman right-hander Austen Seidel was tremendous in his collegiate debut as he went six innings, allowed one earned run on four hits, and struck out nine.
 
"For a freshman starting Game One, he wasn't really sharp early on, but he settled in and he's just got good stuff," Gilliland said. "We're going to get a lot of that out of Austen and it's a shame we wasted that good start."
 
Offensively, the middle of Cloud County's batting order shined as the 3-4-5 hitters (Erik Sabrowski, Enrique Gonzalez and Tauren Langley) were a combined 4-for-10 with four RBI in Game One.
 
Game Two Recap
Cloud County responded to the heartbreaking loss in Game One with a strong performance in Game Two, earning a 5-2 victory behind a complete-game pitched by freshman Jackson Dietel.
 
Dietel limited the Greyhounds to two runs on six hits and struck out three en route to his first collegiate victory.
 
"Dietel executed one of the best games I've seen in a long time as far as just making good pitches one after another," Gilliland said. "He gave us a chance to win and the team showed resiliency after an emotional loss to punch back." 
 
Redshirt freshman shortstop Aidan Huggins provided Dietel with some early run support as Huggins drilled the first home run of his career — a two-run shot that scored Ryan Krolikowski — in the top of the second inning.
 
Cloud County tacked on runs in the third, fifth and seventh innings; the last coming on Sabrowski's first home run of the season.
 
Sabrowski finished the game 3-for-3 at the plate and was a combined 9-for-14 with 5 RBI during the four-game series.
 
"He was really dialed in, hitting the ball to all fields," said Gilliland about Sabrowski. "People see a big guy in the box and think he's just a big bopper, but he's a hitter first with the ability to hit for power. He showed that the whole series."
 
Game Three Recap
A six-run second inning and another great starting pitching performance keyed Cloud County's 8-3 victory in Game Three to kick off Friday's doubleheader.
 
Six different Cloud County players recorded at least one hit, led by Sabrowski's 3-for-4 day as the he hit for himself while serving as the starting pitcher.
 
On the mound, the left-hander tossed five shutout innings, limiting Fort Scott to a pair of walks and two hits while striking out nine.
 
"Sabrowski's stuff was really live (Friday)," Gilliland said. "He pitched a heck of a game and was pretty much in control."
 
Sabrowski received some help from his battery mate as sophomore catcher Dario DeSantis finished 2-for-4, highlighted by a two-run home run in the second inning.
 
Krolikowski was 2-for-3 with a run scored and freshman outfielder Grant Schmidt, who finished 3-for-6 with three runs driven in during the series, was 1-for-2 in Game Three with an RBI.
 
Game Four Recap
For the first time in the series, Cloud County was forced to play from behind in Game Four and were unable to dig out of an early hole in its 8-6 loss to conclude the series.
 
The T-Birds trailed 8-2 through four innings of play, but wouldn't go away quietly. 
 
Cloud County rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth inning, and loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh, but had the rally end when a rocket off the bat of sophomore Matt Bondarchuk, Cloud County's all-time single season hits leader, was knocked down by the wind for the final out.
 
"(Bondarchuk) absolutely smashed a ball to center field, but the wind was blowing in about 25 miles per hour," Gilliland said. "Had that ball gotten over the outfielder's head, we would have cleared the bases and taken the lead. We put ourselves in a position to win that game, but some mistakes early on were magnified and dug us that hole we couldn't get out of."
 
Cloud outhit the Greyhounds, 12-8, in Game Four and had 10 different players record at least one hit, led by Huggins and freshman Cooper Schlochtermeier with two hits apiece.
 
The T-Birds will look to build off the split when they welcome in Northeast Community College next week. 
 
Due to possible inclement weather, all four games of the series will be played in Concordia on Saturday and Sunday. First pitch for Game One is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m.