Broncbusters bats awake; Stone and Heiman carry the day on the hill

Broncbusters bats awake; Stone and Heiman carry the day on the hill

W, 11-5

By Mike Pilosof

Garden City, KS-It's only two games, but the Broncbusters answered some preseason questions for Head Coach Chris Finnegan about his pitching staff.

Austin Stone and Eric Heiman made a strong case as a more than formidable 1-2 punch. The veteran skipper could definitely use that at the top of his rotation.

Stone, who missed most of last season with an injury, returned to toss an 11-strikeout gem, Heiman fanned 11 as well in his first collegiate start, and Garden City swept Trinidad State 14-4 and 11-5 Friday afternoon at Williams Stadium.

"We were pretty fortunate to come out with two wins today," Finnegan said. "We got a couple of quality starts."

In the opener, the Broncbuster offense gave Stone a nice cushion. With two on and one out in the first, Corbin Turslow ripped a two-run single to left, putting Garden City (2-0, 0-0) up 2-0. Ty Barclay followed with a double to the alley, and Garden City had an early three-run lead.

"We swung the bat really well," Finnegan said. "It was good to see how they came out in the first game of the season."

Ty Lightley's sacrifice fly and Robbie Young's RBI triple pushed the lead to 5-0 after two before the Broncbusters put the game away in the third, plating six runs including Clint Allen's monstrous two-run shot to right-center. Young added his second run-scoring triple of the day, and a two-run homer in the fourth.  

"Our hitting covered up some mistakes we made on the hill today," Finnegan said."

After yielding an RBI single to Ethan Castro in the fourth, and allowing three more in the fifth, Stone punctuated a strong first outing by striking out Reid Baty to induce the run rule.

"We still have plenty to work on," Finnegan said. '

Stone's final stat line in five innings: four runs on five hits; only two earned while walking one.  

While Stone set the tone on the bump, Young was the catalyst offensively, going 3-for-3 at the dish and driving in four runs.

In game two, Trinidad State (0-2) tagged Heiman for an early run when Carlos Mancillas scored on a wild pitch in the first. But it didn't take long for Garden City to take command after Young mashed a double to left, scoring Clint Allen to tie the game 1-1 in the bottom half. In the second, Griff Brunson, playing in his first college game, laid down a perfect sac bunt that allowed Lightley to score from third to give the Broncbusters the lead. Then it was Young again, singling in Allen and Brunson for a 4-1 advantage.

"Clint Allen did a really nice job getting on base, and other guys brought him around," Finnegan said.

After Trinidad State cut the deficit to one with two runs in the top of the third, Garden City countered with a four-spot in the bottom of the frame, sparked by Young, who delivered a bases-clearing triple that scored Darian Burns, Lightley and Brunson to make it 9-3. Garden City tallied a run in the seventh on Young's RBI groundout and another in the eighth when ReJean Bourget doubled home Gino Bourget.

Young added to his fantastic day, totaling seven more RBI, going 3-of-5 at the plate with two runs scored and two extra base hits. He and Burns recorded multi-hit games in the finale.

Heiman picked up the win, going 5.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out 11. AJ Stephens, Scott Waterman and Nick Iossi combined for three innings of shutout relief.

Next up: Garden City at Trinidad State-Sunday, Feb. 4-1 p.m.