The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team scored 25 runs including a second-game grand slam by Hunter Nelson to help the Cougars take two from McCook Community College Saturday afternoon in Empire Conference action.
The first game saw WNCC register 18 hits including home runs from Brevin Owen, Ethan “Q” Miller, and Dermot Fritsch in taking a 15-6 win over McCook. The second contest saw the Cougars come back from a deficit as Nelson recorded the only extra base hit with a fifth-inning grand slam to help the Cougars to the 10-7 win.
The two teams will be back in action Sunday for a 9-inning game beginning at 1 p.m. at Cleveland Field.
Nelson said these two wins were huge.
“We played great and the bats really came alive today,” Nelson said. “The first game from the start we kept going, kept swinging it, and scored runs. The second game they got on us a little bit, but we fought back. We kept battling and we started scoring runs. Our pitchers came through and put up zeros and we battled it out.”
Battling is the key anytime to get wins and that is what the Cougars did in the second game.
The second game showed that. McCook got on top 5-0 early before the Cougar bats responded, scoring twice in the second and one in the third.
It was the fifth inning that saw WNCC change the complexion of the game and it was Nelson’s grand slam that gave the Cougars their first lead of the day at 9-5. Nelson said the grand slam felt great.
“It was great. I was on the first pitch,” he said. “He was throwing hard and I knew I just had to trust my swing and when I saw the fastball, I just went for it. It went where it needed to be.”
WNCC loaded the bases to start the fifth on free passes. Miller scored one run with a single to cut the deficit to 5-4. That was when Nelson stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter. Nelson took a one-and-one count and went deep over right field for the grand slam. WNCC added another run in the inning on a sacrifice fly for a 9-5 lead.
McCook came right back and added two in the sixth before WNCC added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as Nelson scored Luis Alcantara on a sacrifice fly.
WNCC had nine hits in the win. Ethan “Q” Miller and John Betsch each had two hits. Both scored two runs while Miller had two RBIs. Nelson had just one hit, a home run, with five RBIs in the contest.
Kale Litzelman picked up the win going five innings in allowing four hits, five runs, and striking out five. Nate Kolb collected the save, going four innings in allowing two runs, four hits, and striking out one.
The first game saw WNCC send McCook starting picture Isaac Vargas to the bench early in scoring seven runs in the first two innings and holding an 8-2 lead after three innings.
WNCC scored runs in five of the six innings they batted. The second inning was a big inning as Dermot Fritsch started the scoring with a 3-run home run. Brevin Owen followed with a solo shot for a 7-1 lead.
WNCC added one in the third before scoring three times in the fourth including a 2-run home run by Miller. WNCC put the game away with four in the fifth to lead 15-6.
WNCC pounded out 18 hits, including five extra base hits. Mikey Felton led the offense with a 4-for-4 day with a run scored and a RBI. Arnoldo Maltos-Garcia had three hits with two RBIs and four runs scored.
Collecting two hits each were Fritsch, Owen, Alcantara, Miller, and Matt Womack. Fritsch had a home run with three RBIs, while Owen had a triple, home run, two runs scored, and four RBIs. Miller had two RBIs with a home run, while Alcantara had two RBIs.
Zach Berg picked up the win on the mound, going five innings in allowing six runs and scattering eight hits. Berg struck out seven and walked two. SJ Mousseau tossed two innings, striking out two.
McCook 101 040 0 – 6 9 1
WNCC 341 340 x – 15 18 1
WP – Zach Berg.
2B – Harrison Yates.
3B – Brevin Owen.
HR – Brevin Owen, Q Miller, Dermot Fritsch.
McCook 320 002 0 – 7 8 0
WNCC 021 061 x – 10 9 2
WP – Kale LItzelman; S – Nate Kolb.
HR – Hunter Nelson.