Tiger baseball team picks up important wins over Johnson County
With the Johnson County Cavaliers and the No. 12-ranked Cowley College Tiger baseball team chasing Kansas City in the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division standings, the teams met Thursday for an important doubleheader in Arkansas City. The Tigers got strong pitching and timely hitting in both games as they won 7-4 and 6-2.
Cowley (30-7) improves its record to 19-3 in the Jayhawk East, while Johnson County (30-11) falls to 13-5. Kansas City continues to hold a slim advantage in the conference race with a record of 16-2.
In Thursday's opener, Tiger starting pitcher Grant Adler allowed a leadoff double to Blake Mozley, who would come around to score the game's first run after a pair of groundouts. However, following Mozley's double, Adler would retire the next 18 batters in a row before Cooper Combs homered leading off the top of the seventh inning.
With Adler in control on the mound, Carson Hunt and Conner Gore helped give the right-hander some run-support as Hunt hit a grand slam in the bottom of the second inning and Gore's solo homer in the bottom of the sixth put Cowley on top 7-1.
Adler was relieved on the mound after the first three batters reached base in the top of the seventh inning. The Cavaliers would scratch across two more runs in the inning before Tiger closer Isaac Stebens struck out Jeremy Rader to end the game.
Adler improved his record to 7-0 on the season by allowing only four hits in six innings.
"After that first batter, Grant was really good," Cowley head coach Darren Burroughs said. "He did a good job commanding the strike zone and did not go deep in a lot of counts."
Grant Garza (3-1) took the loss for Johnson County as he allowed eight hits and seven runs in six innings pitched.
Hunt finished 3-for-3 with his second homer of the season, while the homer for Gore was his third.
Madron would hit his second RBI double in a three-run seventh inning that helped Cowley bust the game open.
J'Briell Easley, Tanner Vaughn, and Carson Pierce, combined for six scoreless innings before Miguel Fulgencio took over in the seventh inning. Fulgencio did not allow a run in the seventh and eighth innings before surrendering his first earned runs of the season in the top of the ninth inning.
Fulgencio, who allowed two runs in three innings of relief, went 23 2/3 innings to open the season before allowing his first earned run of the year.
Easley (2-0) went the first three innings on the mound to earn the win. Easley allowed three hits and no runs, while striking out three as he picked up his first win since February 19.
"It was good to see J'Briell make improvements and be consistent with what he was trying to do," Burroughs said.
Madron had two of Cowley's six hits and finished 2-for-3 with two doubles, two runs batted in and three runs scored. Madron added his team-leading 17th stolen base in the victory.
Johnson County's Trent Martin (5-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season after allowing four hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched.
The teams will conclude the four-game series by playing a doubleheader at Johnson County Saturday in Overland Park beginning at 1 p.m.
"Johnson has a nice club, so it is big to win these games late in the race," Burroughs said. "We will try to do the same on Saturday."
Score by inning:
Game one R H E
Johnson 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 – 4 5 0
Cowley 0 4 2 0 0 1 x – 7 8 0
Game two R H E
Johnson 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 – 2 8 3
Cowley 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 0 x – 6 6 1