Pratt, KS (westernkansasnews.com) How do you improve on a 5-for-9 performance in the opening two games of the series? Ask Garden City third baseman Alex Nielsen.
Nielsen clubbed his seventh homer of the year a two run blast in the third then cleared the bases with a three run double in the seventh inning of game two to stretch the Garden City lead to four and the Broncbusters sweet the two games in Pratt 13-3 in a run rule shortened six innings and 10-6.
Game One Highlights
Nielsen who last year went 5-for-12 with seven RBI in four games against Pratt (20-30, 7-21) including a grand slam ended this year’s series going 8-17 with 7 RBIs, but he had some help offensive too.
GCCC Catcher Ty Barclay powered out a three run homer his second of the series in sixth inning off Pratt reliever Parker English and Garden City turned a close 4-3 game into a blowout with four in the fifth and five in the six to run rule Pratt in six innings.
Garden lefty starting pitcher Kendrick Catron (3-4) who struggled early on allowing a run each in the second, third and fourth innings and two hits in each of the first four ate up some innings when the team needed them the most.
After inducing Anthony Romer’s ground ball double play to end the fourth, Catron retired the side in order over his final two innings for his first complete game win since a February 18th at New Mexico Military 9-1.
Game Two Highlights
In game two, Garden City short on arms needed a little bit from everybody to pull through. Billy Clark provided the spark offensively with a leadoff triple in a two run first inning. It was the beginning of a four hit game for the Broncbuster (29-22, 14-14) rightfielder. He finished with two singles, double and triple needing only a homer for the cycle.
Aeneas Roberson found a home in the second spot in the order behind leadoff batter Billy Clark and started the game with RBI singles in the first, second and fourth as part of a 5 RBI series for the Broncbuster centerfielder.
The game was not without its moments as Pratt kept chipping away at an early 6-0 deficit through an inning and a half. Clint Allen’s two run single off Beavers starting pitcher Quinton Kopjar made it a six run lead, but Pratt had the answer scoring four off Broncbusters spot starter A.J. Stephens on Trevor Wetzel’s RBI double, followed by a two single from Daniel Johnson and a sac-fly by Anthony Romer.
Zipping ahead to the bottom of the fifth the game essentially hung in the balance with Garden City leading 7-5, Tynan Hofferle doubled to right center with one out and after a single and a walk loaded up the bases off GCCC reliever Noah Foreman, Pratt first baseman Josh Jones made it a one run game with his RBI single.
Garden City Coach Chris Finnegan called on Mitchell Savine for the third time in the series out of the Broncbuster bullpen. After an adventurous first two games of the series where he recorded the save in game one and allowed the game winning hit to Hofferle to the only guy he faced in game two, Savine kept his team in the lead when he struck out Trevor Wetzel and had Elijah Boyer hit a comebacker to the mound, ending the threat.
While Pratt failed the capitalize with the bases loaded in the fifth, Garden did not when Nielsen doubled down the left field line sending in off Pratt reliever Zack Courbat bringing in Alex Eskridge, Billy Clark and Aeneas Roberson all in to score.
Leading by four, Garden City turned to Dillan Feurestein for the final three innings and he took care of business. Utilizing his curveball and having command of a good fastball, Feurestein allowed just two singles, struck out five and had Daniel Johnson hit into an inning ending double play to end the eighth inning and finish the job as Garden took three of four games.
Post-game comments GCCC Head Coach Chris Finnegan
The win means Garden City is at .500 14-14 in the conference and will finish with a 9-7 record in conference road games. The Broncbusters play a nine inning game at McCook Wednesday at 3 before playing their final conference series this weekend when Seward County comes to town for weekend doubleheaders at 1pm and 3pm Saturday and Sunday.