Cloud County splits series opening doubleheader with Conquistadors

Cloud County freshman Trey Asher pitched four strong innings of relief to pick up the win in Game One on Friday.
Cloud County freshman Trey Asher pitched four strong innings of relief to pick up the win in Game One on Friday.

DODGE CITY, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College baseball team opened up a four-game set with Dodge City Community College on Friday, earning a road split with the Conquistadors.

Cloud County (26-15 overall, 13-9 KJCCC) rolled to a 10-6 victory in the opener, with seven different players combining on the T-Birds' 11 hits, but were unable to complete the sweep as they fell by an 8-3 final in Game Two.

"We certainly needed to get one win down there, would have been nice to get two, but I thought Dodge City played really well in that Game Two," said Cloud County head coach, Eric Gilliland.

The T-Birds' lineup dominated Game One as, in addition to the 11 hits, they worked 11 walks from Dodge City pitchers and made the Conquistadors pay for those free passes.

After falling behind 3-0 early, Cloud County vaulted into the lead with a six-run third inning.

Sophomore outfielder Grant Schmidt hammered a two-run double, while sophomore Kade Wallace and freshman Davis Pratt each recorded RBI singles to open up the scoring.

Cloud County then capped the inning with RBI walks from freshman shortstop Connor Laux and freshman outfielder Alex Rice.

"Those big innings are huge and we took advantage of a lot of free bases in Game One," Gilliland said. "We knew (walks) were something Dodge City was susceptible to. We were patient, and when we had the chances, we drove guys in. Offensively, top to bottom, I thought we had a good plan of action in that first game."

Schmidt finished 2-for-3 with a team-high 3 RBI, Wallace (2-for-5) and Laux (3-for-4, 2 RBI) each added multi-hit games, and freshman catcher Griffin Larsen earned four of Cloud County's 11 walks in the Game One win.

On the mound, freshman left-hander Trey Asher put together his second consecutive impressive outing as he pitched four innings of one-run baseball to pick up the win in relief.

Asher (3-1), who threw three scoreless innings in a extra-inning win over Barton last Sunday, picked up right where he left off as he limited the Conquistadors to one run on five scattered hits while striking out one and not walking a batter.

"Trey did just what he did his last time out against Barton," Gilliland said. "He continues to show tremendous composure and make big pitches."

In Game Two, the T-Birds got off to a strong start as they produced three runs in the top of the second inning to take a 3-1 lead, courtesy of RBI singles from Laux and freshman Clayton Loranger, as well as an error by Dodge City.

Unfortunately for the T-Birds, they were unable to keep early offensive success against Dodge City starter, Luke Boline.

Boline would end up going 6.1 innings to pick up the win after Dodge City erupted for six runs in the fifth inning to retake the lead.

"We kind of fell apart there in the fifth. We have to get quality starts to have a chance to win games. Couple that with a starter from Dodge City (Boline) who settled in nicely, it really kind of shut us down," Gilliland said. "We had a chance to chase him early and we didn't. He's Dodge City's best starter and had we been able to chase him early, it could have changed the course of that game and the series with us playing on back-to-back days."

Redshirt freshman Ramon Vingochea was 2-for-4, while Loranger (1-for-4, 1 RBI) and Laux (1-for-3, 1 RBI) lead the Cloud County lineup in Game Two.

Sophomore right-hander Jacob Dauer was another bright spot on the mound Friday as he pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, not allowing a hit and recording one strikeout.

The T-Birds will aim to put all the pieces together Saturday when they resume the series with the Conquistadors at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Lee Doyen Field in Concordia.

"We have to play well and that's all we can control," Gilliland said. "We need to have some quality starts on the mound and we have to play good, clean baseball and try to find a way to win a series. At this point in the year, a split won't really do us much good so we need to find a way to win the series (Saturday)."