The struggles continued for the Garden City Buffalo baseball team as the Buffaloes dropped a home game to the WAC rival Liberal Redskins, 7-2, Tuesday night at Clint Lightner.
”I thought we came out dead," head coach Justin Reich said as his Buffs fell to 4-11 overall and 2-5 in the WAC. "Obviously not the performance we wanted.”
Liberal struck first, as junior Francisco Terrazas roped a single to left to bring in sophomore Elijah McCarter for the opening run of the game in the top of the first. Garden City tried to respond, but left a runner stranded on base at the end of the first inning.
After a routine top of the second inning, Garden City tied things up when starting pitcher junior Elier Arreola helped his own cause by bringing in sophomore Aaron Urrutia on a RBI ground out, giving the Buffaloes their first run of the game.
But the Buffs gave the lead right back in the top of the third. Junior Javier Bojorquez drove a two-out line drive past past the Buffalo left fielder, who misplayed the ball in the sun, which cleared the bases on a standing double. That gave Liberal a 4-1 lead.
Garden City would add another run in the fourth inning when senior Pablo Sandoval brought in junior Auston Waetzig to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Unfortunately for the Buffs, Liberal added three more runs to their total — one in the fourth, another one in the fifth, and the final run of the night came in the sixth inning. Liberal scored in all but two innings on Tuesday, helping them secure the 7-2 win.
Arreola went 4 2/3 innings in his start, striking out three, giving up six earned runs on nine hit. Waetzig came in during the fifth inning in relief of Arreola.
“I though both pitchers pitched fairly well,” Reich said. “We had guys making mistakes all over the field that are mental mistakes rather than physical mistakes, which can be frustrating."
One of the reasons for those mistakes could be the fact that the Buffs were not at full strength with their usual lineup on Tuesday.
“We are missing a couple key players, for reasons I can’t really talk about, but without those guys we’re a different team and we weren’t ready to play,” Reich said.
Notably absent from the game on Tuesday were usual starters, junior Cooper Thayer and senior Lance Allred.
Although not the season coach Reich had envisioned to this point, there are still plenty of things to play for during the home stretch.
“There are essentially two seasons,” Reich said. We get to finish out these next four or five games, and then we have a regional tournament. And if we win that, we can still go to state. There are still stuff to play for, and (the players) need to understand that.
The Buffs will look to finish the season strong as they travel to Emporia for the Emporia Classic tournament, which is set to start on Friday and last all weekend. Garden City’s first opponent is yet to be determined.