By Mike Pilosof
Garden City, KS-Chris Finnegan always puts together a tough, non-conference schedule. The proof of that was on full display Saturday afternoon.
Luis Giminez knocked in five runs, and Indian Hills pounded out 25 hits as the Falcons took the first two games from Garden City 12-10 and 13-5 at Williams Stadium.
In game one, Garden City (11-6) nearly squandered a chance to score in the first when Conner Reynolds, who reached base on a walk, was thrown out at home plate. But Aeneas Roberson, who led off the inning with a free pass, stole third and eventually came around on third baseman Lane Harvey's throwing error to make it 1-0.
Indian Hills (2-0) took the lead with a two-out rally in the third. With runners at first and second, Zachary Fascia doubled home two off of Kendrick Catron to put the Falcons in front 2-1.
As they did all afternoon long, the Broncbusters answered emphatically. With one on in the fourth, Clint Allen smoked a two-run shot to give Garden City a 3-2 edge. Ty Barclay followed with a double and eventually came home on Ale Eskridge's RBI single to make it 4-2. But with a chance to add some insurance with two on and two out, Reynolds struck swinging.
Indian Hills took full advantage of Garden City's missed opportunity.
Dillon Nelson's two-run homer in the fifth sparked an eight-run inning. Then with the bases loaded. D.J. Depiero drew a walk that scored Fascia from third. Ryan Humeniuk followed with the most demoralizing swing of the afternoon, hitting a grand slam off reliever Quinton Bonnell that gave the Falcons a 10-4 lead.
Garden City pulled closer in the bottom half thanks to Jesse Gonzales's two-run double and Ty Lightley's RBI single that cut the Indian Hills lead to 10-7. But the Broncbusters spoiled a chance to even the score when Reynolds popped up to shortstop Luis Gimenez with the bases loaded to thwart the rally.
The Broncbusters tied the game in the seventh thanks to a little help from the Falcons. An error on center fielder Jacob Rhinesmith allowed Rafael Viella and Allen to score. The nightmare was just beginning for Rhinesmith, who committed another miscue on Gonzales's single that plated Barclay to knot the score 10-10. Then, with a runner at third and a chance to take the lead, Eskridge grounded out to end the inning.
Rhinesmith more than atoned for his mistakes in extra innings.
After Giminez pushed Indian Hills back in front with a leadoff homer off reliever Nick Ulmer in the eighth, the freshman followed suit, sending a bomb over the right-field wall for a 12-10 advantage.
The Broncbusters brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the eighth but Lightley and Eskridge struck out to end the game.
Ulmer took the loss in relief, allowing two homers and walking one. Zach Lauzon got the win for Indian Hills. He allowed two earned runs on three hits and walked four.
Indian Hills began the second game where they left off in the first.
Giminez started the finale with a leadoff homer in the first off of Noah Foreman. Three batters later, Rhinesmith drilled a two-run double to make it 2-0. After Forman got Fascia to strike out, Harvey singled home Enrique Veras and Rhinesmith for a 4-0 cushion.
The Falcons added a run in the second on Rhinesmith's RBI single before Garden City finally got on the board in the bottom of the third when Roberson singled and came around to score on a wild pitch.
But the middle innings proved costly for the Broncbusters
In the fourth, Gimenez hit a one-out single to center; then came all the way around to score on an error by right fielder Billy Clark. A couple of batters later, Rhinesmith added an RBI single, swiped second and then scored when Fascia singled to right, giving the Falcons an 8-1 lead.
Garden City made it a game in the bottom half, drawing three straight walks to begin the frame. Lightley singled home Allen and Eskridge drew a bases on balls that scored Shane Podsednik from third. Roberson's RBI groundout and Clark's sacrifice fly cut the Falcons lead to 8-5. But with runners at first and third and two outs, Ray Nolan got Rafael Viella to fly out to center.
The Broncbsuters would not score again.
The Falcons added two runs in the fifth on Gimenez's bases-clearing triple and three more in the sixth when Harvey, Ryan Humeniuk and Gimenez smoked RBI doubles for a 13-5 edge.
Formean was handed his first loss on the bump, allowing six runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked three. Marcus Gregson got the win for Indian Hills, allowing just one hit in three innings. He fanned four.
Next up: Garden City vs. Indian Hills-Sunday, Feb. 26-12 p.m. and 3 p.m.