GCCC basebal falls at Butler

EL DORADO - Butler has proven time and time again this season that they're a different team in their own ballpark. And boy did they show it on Saturday.

Austin Portner went deep, Colby Standard collected three hits, and the Grizzlies powered past Garden City Community College 8-4 at McDonald's Stadium.

"Today was totally different than Thursday," Broncbusters Head Coach Chris Finnegan said afterwards. "We couldn't get ahead; we didn't get ahead, and we didn't put guys away."

Blake Mackintosh, who made his first start in nearly a month, was good, but not great. He worked in and out of trouble for the most part, giving up an RBI groundout to Bryce Zimmerer in the second that put the Grizzlies in front 1-0.

"Unfortunately, we pitched in the middle of the plate," Finnegan explained. "You can't do that against a good offensive team like that."

Garden City managed to tie the game in the fourth. Dakota Finley and Ibrahim Rodriguez stroked back-to-back singles, and Jake Barber blooped a run-scoring base hit into right. But for the most part, that was the gist of the Garden City offense.

The rest of the day belonged to Butler.

The Grizzlies grabbed the lead for good in the home half of the fourth, taking advantage of Portner's leadoff double. With two outs, Thomas Beiswanger, who was hitless in five straight games entering Saturday's opener, pulverized Mackintosh's elevated fastball to the gap in left-center for an RBI double. Finnegan then replaced his starter in the fifth with Owen Mitchell, who immediately walked Jackson Syring. Dylan Werries followed with a single to left, Standard got a run home on a fielder's choice, and that was all for Mitchell, who gave way to Shane Miller.

Unfortunately, he didn't fair much better.

The first batter he faced, Portner, blasted a 1-0 fastball over the fence in left-center for a two-run shot and a 5-1 lead. An inning later, the Grizzlies got to reliever Evan Dean tagging him for three runs: an RBI single by Syring and a two-run base hit by Standard that made it 8-1.

"It was just a really poor day pitching all the way around," Finnegan added. "When Shane comes in, he has to be on the corners. He has to be. Unfortunately, he was over the plate, and good hitters are going to take advantage of that."

Garden City did rally back in the seventh. Kyle Jameson hit sacrifice fly, Brennen Nolte, Dakota Finley and Ibrahim Rodriguez slapped RBI singles, and the Broncbusters trailed 8-4. But with two on and a chance to bring the tying run to the plate, Butler closer Zach Nagel painted a 3-2 fastball on the corner, freezing Jean Barreto to end the game.

"We didn't have anyone show me anything out of the pen today," Finnegan said.

Mackintosh allowed two runs on six hits in four innings for Garden City, who saw their four-game winning streak come to an end. Meantime the bullpen, which has been much improved through the first 18 games, allowed six earned runs over two innings of work.

Nate Adler improved to 4-0 on the bump for Butler, who remained perfect at home this season (8-0). He allowed four runs on six hits in six innings. He fanned four. Standard finished 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBI, and Portner was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.

Butler is putting up video-game numbers in their home stadium. And that didn't stop on Saturday in the second game.

Thomas Beiswanger drilled two homers, the Grizzlies hit a season-best five long balls, and Butler blew out Garden City 19-6 in the series finale at McDonald's Stadium.

"It was just not a good day; nothing went right for us," Head Coach Chris Finnegan said. "It was just tough all the way around."

The Grizzlies have already had some memorable offensive moments this season. They clawed back from an 8-0 deficit to beat Des Moines Area 30-13. On Saturday, there was no need for a comeback. This time, they put the game away right from the start.

Rhett Halstead, who watched as shoulder problems prematurely ended his 2019 campaign, never made it out of the first. The first seven men he faced reach base, which included Brandon Ryan, who clubbed a monster three-run homer to right. Later in the inning, Dylan Werries promptly ended the freshman's conference debut by doubling home two, giving Butler a 9-0 lead.

"You give up a nine spot in the first, and it was a little deflating," Finnegan explained. "But it was still early."

The Grizzlies first-inning stat line: nine runs on nine hits while sending 13 guys to the plate. It lasted a little more than a half an hour.

"We did a nice job chipping our way back into the game, and then we gave it right back," Finnegan said. "That was the story."

Indeed it was.

Garden City scored a run in the second then surrendered it right back in the bottom half. In the third, the Grizzlies added four more runs fueled by Beiswanger's three-run bomb to left-center that put the home team up 14-1.

"I thought we swung the bats well enough to produce some runs," Finnegan said. "We just missed a lot of opportunities today where balls had a chance to leave the yard but never did."

The Broncbuster offense sprung to life in the fourth. Colin Stone hit his second homer of the series, Barber tripled home Darrian Escobar-Winter, and Kyle Jameson stroked an RBI base hit. But Butler starter Zach Chiolis turned off the faucet from there, getting Dakota Finley to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play.

"They score nine runs, then we get back in the game with five and immediately give it back; that was frustrating," Finnegan said.

Butler wasted no time blowing up the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Austin Portner homered for the second time in the series, ripping a two-run blast to left to make it 18-6.

"We just have to learn from this," Finnegan said. "Guys will watch what we did today. But the good thing is that they know what they did wrong. Now we have to fix it."

The Grizzlies closed out the scoring in the fifth when Beiswanger took reliever Caleb Ayres deep for a leadoff homer, capping off a day where Butler produced 26 runs on 33 hits.

Halsted was all over the place, lasting just 2/3 of an inning. He yielded nine runs on eight hits. He gave way to the bullpen, which struggled again, giving up 11 earned runs over 5 2/3.

Reliever, Garrett DeHaas, improved to 2-0 for Butler, holding Garden City without a hit the final 3 2/3. Colby Standard collected a season-high four hits, and Beiswanger drove in five runs.

Garden City is on the road for a 1 p.m. game today against Otero.