T-Birds smash six home runs, sweep doubleheader at Highland

T-Birds smash six home runs, sweep doubleheader at Highland

HIGHLAND, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College baseball team swept Thursday's road doubleheader against Highland Community College, taking Game One, 9-4, and cruising to a 13-5 win in Game Two.

The T-Birds (3-2 overall) teed off on Scottie pitching for six home runs between the two games, many coming in crucial, game-changing situations.

"We got ourselves in good counts to hit by being selective and the guys in the middle of our order cashed them in," said Cloud County head coach, Eric Gilliland. "We drove the ball really well (Thursday)."

In Game One, freshman third baseman Tauren Langley got Cloud County off to a strong start with a two-out solo home run in the top of the first inning.

The T-Birds' lead sat at 3-0 heading to the top of the fifth when sophomore Jacob Grady and freshman Ryan Krolikowski produced back-to-back jacks to provide some insurance runs.

Grady belted his first home run of 2017 — a two-run home run to left field — and Krolikowski, who delivered a two-run double in the fourth inning, followed with a solo shot for his second home run this season to bump the lead to 7-0.

On the mound, sophomore left-hander John Stiger (1-0) earned his first win. He battled his command over 5 2/3 innings of work, scattering six walks, but was able to get key outs when he needed them. Stiger limited Highland to one run on five hits while striking out four.

"John wasn't extremely sharp. He didn't command his breaking ball, which is his best pitch, but he competed all day long," Gilliland said. "He minimized innings, worked out of jams and gave us a chance."

The long ball played a big role in Game Two for the T-Birds as sophomore first baseman Kolton Meyer hit two of Cloud County's three home runs in the nightcap, including a grand slam in what was an eight-run third inning.

Meyer reached base four times in Game Two, finishing 2-for-3 with two walks and six RBI. His second home run came in the fourth inning; a two-run shot that upped Cloud's lead to 10-2.

Sophomore infielder Gabriel Jacobo, after entering the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth, led off the inning with a solo home run. He also slapped a single in the seventh inning to finish 2-for-2.

Right-hander Nick Wordekemper (1-1) earned the win the T-Birds on the bump as he went 5 2/3 innings, allowed five runs on nine hits, and struck out seven versus two walks.

In addition to the positive steps forward at the plate and on the mound, Gilliland said he was pleased to see his team play error free baseball on Thursday.

"We have to play well, defensively, and throw strikes to win baseball games and (Thursday) our defense was definitely improved from last weekend," Gilliland said. "Overall, today was really solid. We need to try to repeat it again this weekend."

Cloud County and Highland square off again this Saturday in the T-Birds' home opening series. Game times for the doubleheader are set for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.