Busters sweep up in Concordia
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
As Garden City Community College's head baseball coach Chris Finnegan said Sunday, it's always nice to win four games in one weekend.
That's what the Broncbusters did in a weekend series at Cloud County, sweeping all four games from Thunderbirds to get the Busters over .500 overall, 18-16, and in conference play, 11-9.
The Busters completed the sweep with wins of 5-3 and 12-2 on Sunday, but that blowout win in the series finale was not the norm, as the Busters won games by three, two and one run(s) over the weekend, seemingly a positive sign for the Busters' trajectory heading into a seven-game homestand which begins on Wednesday.
"I hope (it's a good sign)," the pragmatic Finnegan said. "I can't predict the future. We did what we were supposed to, winning close games and playing good baseball."
Chris Bonk started Sunday off with a six-inning outing to pick up the win, improving his record to 5-0 in seven starts.
"Chris has thrown a lot of quality strikes for us, and been pitching very well for us," Finnegan said of his 6-foot-4 right-hander. "He throws three pitches for strikes, and he has confidence in all three pitches ... He attacks hitters."
Bonk struck out just one on Sunday, and allowed eight hits and three earned runs, his second-most runs allowed this season, giving Bonk a 2.39 ERA with 37 punchouts in 37 2/3 innings.
But even at less than his best, Bonk gave the Busters a chance to win on Sunday, and Nolan Barrientos gave Bonk the run support with a two-run home run in the fourth to give the Busters a 3-1 lead.
Austin Aspegren closed out the game in the seventh with a perfect frame, inducing two popouts and a fly out to get the save, his fourth of the year.
In the nightcap, the Busters did not wait around to win another close game. This time, the Busters scored in all but the fourth inning of the seven-inning contest, riding a trio of home runs from the Busters' 2-3-4 hitters.
Designated hitter Rocky Desantis slammed a two-run shot to right center in the first, Kaleb Zimmer hit it out in the third, and Barrientos clubbed his second of the day in the sixth, propelling the Busters to a 12-run outburst.
Starter Brooks Trujillo needed just three to get the win, striking out six and giving up two earned in five innings, picking up his second win (2-1).
"Brooks did a really good job," Finnegan said. "We got another five quality innings out of him."
Trujillo now has a 4.50 ERA.
Brad Spires came out of the bullpen for the final two innings, striking out two.
"I thought our guys did a really good job (during the series)," Finnegan said. "Every game, (Cloud County was) in it the whole game, the whole time, and we found a way to make that one pitch, that one play to get the 'W.'"
The Busters begin their homestand at 2 p.m. Wednesday against Clarendon (Texas) College. Then, the Busters return to conference play to take on Butler in a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's play begins at 3 p.m., while Sunday starts at 1.
Garden City 010 202 0 -- 5 11 0
Cloud County 100 020 0 -- 3 8 1
Bonk, Aspegren(7) and Alvarez. Rall and Zagurski. W--Bonk (5-0). L--Rall. Sv--Aspegran (4). 2B--Garden City, Desantis (10), Alitz (10), Alvarez (6). 3B--Garden City, Tucker (6); Cloud County, Rall. HR--Garden City, Barrientos (1), Alitz (4).
Garden City 213 021 3 -- 12 15 1
Cloud County 100 010 0 -- 2 6 1
Trujillo, Spires(6) and Alvarez. Collins, Thomas(5), Kooser(6) and Zagurski. W--Trujillo (2-1). L--Collins. 2B--Garden City, Zimmer (3), Barrientos (2), Alvarez (7). HR--Garden City, Zimmer (1), Desantis (4), Barrientos (2).
Third baseman Cale Dineen hit a grand slam in the top of the seventh inning to lead the Busters to the 10-9 win.
Josh Thomas got the win out of the pen, tossing 1 1/3 innings, giving up three runs, one earned. Starter JJ Benes lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs before being relieved by Austin Aspegran and the Busters' bullpen.
Dineen finished with just the one hit, but had five RBIs.
Garden City 021 012 4 -- 10 11 2
Cloud County 320 001 3 -- 9 10 0
Benes, Aspegren(4), Shalberg(5), Spencer(6), Thomas (6) and Alvarez. Foden, Forsythe(5), Hodges(7), Thomas (7). W--Thomas (2-3). L--Forsythe. 2B--Garden City, Desantis (9), Alitz (9); Cloud County, Rall, McMullen. HR--Garden City, Desantis (3), Dineen (4); Cloud County, Cain.
Buster starter Jake Eikleberry earned the 6-3 win with a 6 2/3 inning outing, striking out nine and allowing no earned runs (three unearned).
The Buster offense was led by Tyler Tucker's 2-for-5 day with a triple and an RBI out of the leadoff spot.
Austin Aspegren picked up the save with 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, punching out five.
Garden City 300 201 000 -- 6 8 2
Cloud County 010 020 000 -- 3 5 1
Eikleberry, Aspegren(7) and Zipper. Winter, Biddle (7) and Zagurski. W--Eikleberry (2-3). L--Winter. Sv--Aspegren (3). 3B--Garden City, Tucker (5).