LIBERAL, Kan. – The Seward County Community College baseball team split its conference opening doubleheader with Colby Community College on Friday at Brent Gould Field, dropping the first game, 7-0, but winning the nightcap, 12-6. The Saints are 1-1 in the Jayhawk West and 8-8 overall.
The teams were supposed to play at Colby on Thursday, but poor field conditions forced them to play a four-game set in Liberal. Colby was recognized as the home team on Friday while Seward will be the home team on Saturday. The Saints and Trojans will play at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Brent Gould Field.
Tanner King had his first rough outing of the season and the Seward offense could not solve Colby pitching in the opener.
King (2-1), in taking the loss, allowed seven runs, four earned, on nine hits, struck two, walked two and hit a batter over six innings in going the distance. Entering the game, King had a .45 ERA and had no allowed more than two hits in any of his previous three starts.
While King struggled on the mound, Colby pitcher Logan Hoffman had no issues with the Seward bats. Hoffman pitched a two-hit, complete game shutout. Benny Ayala was the lone Saints offense, producing both hits with singles in the second and seventh innings.
The Trojans jumped on King early, taking a 5-0 lead after three innings. King allowed a two-run homer and a two-run single in the first and an RBI double in the third. Colby would tack on single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to complete the scoring.
Jake Lombardelli started for the Saints, allowed one run on one hit, struck out four and walked four before leaving after the third inning with elbow tenderness. Ryan Thomas (1-0) earned the win in relief of Lombardelli, giving up five runs on nine hits, striking out four and walking three in three innings of work. Cory Didier pitched two scoreless innings on three hits and a walk to finish the game.
The offensive woes from the first game carried over into the nightcap early when Seward loaded the bases with none out and failed to score in the second inning. In the bottom of the inning, Colby took a 1-0 lead on a Cameron Tilly home run.
The Saints finally broke out and answered back in a big way in the top of the third inning. Seward loaded the bases again on a Shope walk, a hit by pitch to Braxton Allen and an Ayala single. This time the Saints did not squander the opportunity as Ward doubled in two runs to give Seward a 2-1 lead. After loading the bases again, Martin cleared the bases with his first homer of the season and the Saints jumped out to a 6-1 advantage.
Seward padded its lead with two more runs in the fourth and another three in the fifth to open an 11-5 margin. The Saints and the Trojans added a run each to close the scoring.