Busters drop one, win one in Great Bend

4/12/2014

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

The Garden City Community College baseball team split Friday's doubleheader at Barton County in contrasting styles, dropping the first game 2-1 in a pitchers' duel, but bouncing back to win an 11-10 barnburner in the nightcap.

"Anytime you can come out with a split after losing Game 1 is good," an always pragmatic Chris Finnegan said in a telephone interview after the twin bill. "I thought we battled back and did a very good job of getting the win in Game 2."

JJ Benes kept the Cougars' bats at bay in the opener, tossing 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball, while striking out three. And after giving up a run in the third, the Busters were able to tie the score at 1 in the top of the fifth on Cale Dineen's groundout with Kadin Hydrick scoring from third.

However, the Cougars took the win on a walk off as Austin Aspegren, who came in out of the bullpen to relieve Benes during the seventh, hit a batsman with the bases loaded to drive in the winning run.

Benes dropped to 5-3 with the loss.

"Game 1 we missed out on some opportunities," Finnegan said.

Dineen finished with the lone RBI, going 0 for 1 with a pair of walks. The Busters only managed three hits off the Cougars' Justin Hersch, who picked up the complete game win, striking out seven.

In the day's finale, the Busters jumped on top quickly, hitting a trio of home runs in the first inning for a 5-0 lead.

Tyler Tucker and Kaleb Zimmer hit back-to-back shots to lead off, and four batters later, Francisco Alvarez hit a three-run blast to left field.

The Busters were able to stretch the lead to 8-0, but the Cougars fought back, chipping away at the lead with four runs in the fourth. The Busters again pulled away with three runs combined between the sixth and seventh innings, but the Cougars scored three in the seventh, two more in the eighth and another in the ninth, but the Busters were able to hang on for the one-run victory.

"Barton battled back. They chipped away," Finnegan said. "But in the end, we came out — Marcus McKinney closed it out for us — we came out on the winning end."

McKinney picked up the save, finishing out the ninth giving up just the one run.

Starter Jake Eikleberry got the win, improving his record to 3-3, throwing six innings, giving up five earned and striking out five.

Cougars' starter Michael Turner lasted just one inning, giving up the three homes runs and taking the loss.

Barrientos and Alvarez each had three RBIs to lead the Busters, while Tucker went 4 for 6 with three runs and one RBI.

The Busters and Cougars return to the diamond at 1 p.m. today for another twin bill to end the four-game series, as the Busters send Chris Bonk and Dalton Shalberg to the mound.

Shalberg replaces Brooks Trujillo in the rotation, who had been the No. 4 starter for the Busters. However, Trujillo, who was 2-1 with a 4.78 ERA in seven appearances, has not pitched since March 30.

Finnegan would not confirm whether Trujillo remained on the Busters' roster on Friday, citing only that it will remain within the team.

Instead, Shalberg, who made his first conference start in Trujillo's absence on April 6 against Butler, will again be the starter for the fourth and final game today.

"It's like anything else," Finnegan said about the jumbling in the rotation, "we have to make the adjustments. We think Shalberg gives us the best shot to win Game 4."

Shalberg, a Lakin High School graduate, gave up four runs in four innings against Butler in his last outing, taking the loss to drop him to 2-3 with a 5.08 ERA.

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Game 1

Garden City 000 010 0 -- 1 3 1

Barton 001 000 1 -- 2 4 0

There were two outs when the winning run scored in the seventh.

Benes, Aspegren(7) and Alvarez. Hersch and Byfield. W--Hersch (4-1). L--Benes (5-3). 2B--Barton, Turner.

Game 2

Garden City 520 102 100 -- 11 14 5

Barton 000 400 321 -- 10 12 3

Eikleberry, Cook(7), Thomas(8), McKinney(9) and Alvarez. Turner, Ferguson(2), Ruiz(6), Plank(7), Hamil(8), Adams(9) and Byfield. W--Eikleberry (3-3). L--Turner (4-4). Sv--McKinner (1). 2B--Garden City, Krainock; Barton, Byfield. HR--Garden City, Tucker, Zimmer, Alvarez; Barton, Byfield.

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