Broncbusters split with Seward on Thursday
One big inning decided things in Thursday's conference opener.
Ayanna Clemons scored twice and drove in two runs, Ireland Caro allowed just five hits in seven innings, and Seward County used a four-run 5th to push past Garden City Community College, 6-2, at Tangeman Sports Complex.
But for the most part, this was an evenly played game between longtime conference rivals, which produced a pitcher's duel at the start.
Lacey Kearsley worked around a one-out single and walk in the first to strike out Emily Mojica before getting Jacie Scott to fly out to left. In the second, the freshman worked out of a bases-loaded jam with an off-speed pitch that got Scott to ground out into an inning-ending force play. But Kearsley's luck finally ran out in the third when she issued two free passes before surrendering a two-out, two-run single to Ashley Low that put the Saints in front 2-0.
It stayed that way until the fourth when Nya Chacon singled and scored on Alexis Maestretti's RBI groundout. But the Saints added to their lead in the fifth. Kearsley served up back-to-back doubles to Jaci Oakley and Mojica; then yielded a two-run single to Clemons that made it 4-1. Two batters later Alondra Galindo singled home a run before Melissa Crisanti's sacrifice fly put Seward County ahead 6-1.
The Broncbusters were shut down in the fifth and sixth before Maestretti ended the silence with a solo shot in the seventh. But Garden City went in order after that.
Kearsley dropped to 2-5 in the circle this season giving up six runs on seven hits in seven innings. She struck out six and walked four. McKayla Encinias went 2-for-3 at the plate, but the rest of the team combined to go just 3-for-24.
Clemons collected two hits for the Saints, which snapped a four-game losing streak.
After being limited to just five hits in Thursday's opener, Garden City's offense finally awoke in the finale, helping Amy Schmeckpeper's team earn a split in their first conference series of the season.
Micaela Mirabal, Nya Chacon and Lacey Kearsley each collected two hits, Tara Reid punched out eight in the circle, and the Broncbusters beat Seward county 8-7 at Tangeman Sports Complex.
Garden City got going right away in this one. Three straight singles by Mckayla Encinias, Mirabal and Alexis Maestretti put runners in scoring position in the first. That's when Chacon delivered the first blow with an RBI double to center. Carly Powley followed with a run-scoring groundout, and Garden City was up 2-0. The Broncbusters then added to their lead in the second, thanks to Mirabal, who lasered Alyssah Pontoja's changeup into left for an RBI knock.
After the Saints got a run back in the third, Garden City countered in the bottom half with Powley's second RBI groundout.
Things got interesting after that.
Seward County pulled to within two in the fourth, then tied the game on Jaci Oakley's solo shot in the fifth. Garden City answered with three runs in their half, punctuated by McKenzie Moore's RBI double. But the Saints didn't go away, and Macy Cesa-Spearman's RBI base hit in the sixth cut the Broncbusters' lead to 7-6.
Garden City caught a break in the bottom of the sixth when, after Powley doubled to center, Melissa Crisanti misplayed Reid's sinking liner into left allowing pinch runner Victoria Sanchez to score easily. However, Seward County made the Broncbusters sweat a little bit in the seventh. Oakley doubled and Clemons brought her around on an RBI groundout to make it 8-7. But after AJ Luna's two-out single kept the Saints' rally alive, Reid got Ashley to ground out to end the game.
The freshman right hander improved to 4-2 in the circle for Garden City, yielding five earned runs on 12 hits in a complete game. Pontoja took the loss for Seward, giving up five runs on 12 hits in six innings. She walked two and struck out two.