T-Bird Baseball Takes Home Opener 11-3

Ty Nelson
Ty Nelson blasted a third-inning home run in Cloud County's home opener on Wednesday afternoon.

CONCORDIA, Kan. – A strong offensive showing would lead the Cloud County Community College baseball team to an 11-3 win in their 2020 home opener over the Kansas Wesleyan University JV team at Lee Doyen Field in Concordia, Kansas on Wednesday, February 12th.

With an originally-scheduled doubleheader being changed to just a single-game with colder weather expected to move through the area late in the day, the T-Birds improved to 3-0 this season while scoring a total of 33 runs in the three games.

"I thought we turned in a solid effort today" said head coach Eric Gilliland in a post-game interview. "It wasn't perfect but it was great to get better and get another victory." "We really wanted to get a lot of freshman out on the mound before we head south this weekend and we had some of those who pitched go out and turn in solid outings."

A leadoff single to begin the game for the Coyotes would lead to a game-opening run as a passed ball would put Cloud County in a 1-0 hole after half an inning of play. The deficit would be short lived for CCCC as a throwing error would allow redshirt sophomore Ed Scott to reach base and bring up Clayton Loranger who would send a home run over the right center field fence to give the T-Birds a 2-1 lead. Kansas Wesleyan would respond with a one-out solo home run in the top of the second to tie things up at 2-2, but Cloud County would get back to work with two runs on one hit, one walk, and a hit batter in the bottom of the inning to go up 4-2.

The offensive fireworks would continue as KWU would see a leadoff walk erased by a fielder's choice, but not before a single would allow for two runners aboard with one out. A double-steal would move both runners into scoring position as a second passed ball would push across another run for the Coyotes to make things a one-run game.

Redshirt freshman Ty Nelson would waste no time in the bottom of the third, taking the second pitch he saw over the left center field fence for a solo home run as the T-Birds would get the run back to take a 5-3 lead. A two-out Griffin Larsen double would lead to an RBI single for Davis Pratt as the score would sit at 6-3 heading to the fourth inning with the offenses stealing the show through three innings.

Things would begin to slow down over the next two innings of play as the two teams would combine for just three total hits in the fourth and fifth before seeing the T-Birds add another run in the bottom of the sixth. A one-two-three top of the seventh for Cloud County would allow the T-Birds to string together a two-out rally in the bottom half of the inning as two hits and a pair of walks would lead to two insurance runs to make the score 9-3. In the final two innings, CCCC would tack on two more runs but leave the bases loaded to end the eight as the pitching staff for the T-Birds would hold the Coyotes scoreless over the final six innings of action to pick up the eight-run victory.

Alex Rice would collect three hits in the game and score once while Loranger would drive in a game-high three runs on two hits while also scoring once. Jaden Parsons and Scott would also drive in two RBI each as eight of Cloud County's 11 runs would be driven in by the top four batters in the lineup.

A total of seven T-Bird hurlers would see action in the game, with Jarod Leroux tossing two innings and getting the win after allowing two runs on two hits. Evan Wilde and Trey Asher would also throw two innings apiece, while Javier Cruz and Haden Dow would both work clean innings. Carl Aikman and Jared Stuewe would close out the ninth for Cloud County as the T-Birds would finish with 10 total strikeouts.

What's Next?

Cloud County will travel to Edmond, Oklahoma to take part in a tournament being hosted by the University of Central Oklahoma. As things stand, CCCC is scheduled to play a seven-inning game against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M at 3 p.m. on Saturday with two games to follow on Sunday. The final schedule is still being determined based on weather projections and will be finalized closer to the weekend.