It was a good start to the season for Barton baseball. Good, but not great.
The Cougars split four games in Poteau, Okla. over the weekend, dropping two close games to host Carl Albert State and winning a pair of games over Jayhawk Conference foe Highland Community College. Barton started the weekend with a 7-6 loss Friday to Carl Albert then split games Saturday. Barton beat Highland 15-3 the first game Saturday and lost another close game, 3-1, to Carl Albert. The Cougars closed the weekend with a win over Highland Sunday, 17-7.
“We are never happy returning from a road trip 2-2 but we did a lot of good things in Oklahoma,” Barton Coach Brent Biggs said. “Offensively I feel like we really competed and showed signs of being a dynamic offensive club.”
In the season opener, Barton fell behind 3-2 in the second inning and played catch-up from there. Barton finally did catch-up in the seventh inning with three runs. Alan Clark hit a 2-run homer to score Taylor Langston and Barton had knotted the game at 5-all. The Cougars took a 6-5 lead when Michael Sinks doubled in Cole Henley.
But the Vikings answered with two in the bottom of the seventh to give Barton a heart-breaking season-opening loss.
Barton score four times in the first inning of Saturday’s opener against Highland. Barton never trailed after, banging out 16 hits and scoring 15 runs.
Sinks and Colton Zink each had three hits in the win. Zink drove in four and Sinks scored four times. Corrigan Bartlett drove in three and stole four bases in the win.
Cody Brewer went five innings to pick up his first win as a Cougar, striking out six and allowing four hits and one earned run.
The Barton bats were limited to just three hits in the second game Saturday against Carl Albert in the 3-1 loss. Barton’s only run came in the sixth on a RBI by Sinks to score Derek Johnson. Garret Rogers gave up two unearned runs in his five innings of work but was the hard-luck loser.
The finale in Oklahoma was a crazy affair. Barton jumped to a 5-0 lead, gave up seven runs to Highland in the third to fall behind 7-5 then scored 12 runs in the final three innings for the easy win.
After falling behind, the Cougars retook the lead on a Johnson 2-run home run in the fifth and never looked back. It was one of three Barton home runs on the day along with Bartlett and Matthew Baca.
Bartlett would drive in four for Barton while Johnson had three hits and scored three times. Daniel Kohl picked up the win in relief, throwing 2.1 innings of 1-hit baseball to allow Barton retake the lead.
“It’s a good starting point for this team,” Coach Biggs said. “There is a lot of areas to feel good about. The split does leave a bitter taste in the mouth and I feel like this group can’t wait to get back on the field and compete.”
Barton will be back on the field this weekend when the Cougars again head south to Oklahoma. This time Barton will travel to Midwest City to take on Rose State College. Barton will play the Raiders three games over the weekend.
The two will play a single game Saturday and doubleheader Sunday. Barton’s first home games are scheduled for Feb. 27 and 28 when Western Nebraska comes to Barton for doubleheader action both days.