Beating the approaching bad weather the Barton Community College baseball team got in the rubber game of a hastily scheduled 3-game series Saturday afternoon at Lawson-Biggs Field.
That rubber game wasn’t what the Cougars had hoped as they fell to Des Moines Area by a 5-0 mark. It was the first series loss for Barton on the season as the Cougars record fell to an even 5-5. Des Moines Area, ranked No. 20 in the preseason NJCAA Division II poll, also evened it mark at 3-3.
“It was more of the same on Saturday against DMACC,” Coach Brent Biggs said. “Our pitching staff kept us in the game but offensively we just weren’t very good.
“We have a really good group of hitters that are caught between trying too hard and letting the game come to them.”
Des Moines scored a pair of runs in the top of the first and added three more in the fourth. That was the scoring for the game. A 2-run double provided the Bears a 2-0 lead in the first. The fourth inning was a frustrating one for the Cougars as Barton retired the first two batters only to see the Bears bring seven more batters to the plate before Barton finally got out of the inning.
Four straight hits followed by back-to-back walks - the last with the bases loaded - made it 5-0.
After that Barton got more than one runner on base in only one inning until the ninth. The Cougars loaded the bases in the final inning with two outs but could not score and were shut out for the first time this season.
Barton managed just five hits in the contest and stranded eight runners.
Des Moines Area starter Kyle Duncan went the distance for the complete game shutout needing just 103 pitches. The Cougar bullpen was solid in relief of starter Cody Brewer. Jamye Lovelace and Jackson Rose threw 5.1 innings of shutout baseball allowing six hits and a pair of walks.
“Our pitching staff has done a great job this spring of throwing quality strikes and controlling innings,” Coach Biggs said. “There were a couple of times this weekend when an inning could have easily got away from us but we were able to make quality pitches in some tough spots.
“It has been tough to get some of our bullpen work with the starting pitchers going so deep in games. Some of our better arms are at the back end of our bullpen and it was nice to see them have some success on the game mound.”
Weather-permitting, the Cougars are back on the road Wednesday for a trip to Hays to take on the Fort Hays State JV. Barton will be at Colby over the weekend for the start of Jayhawk West play.