by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Pitching gems by sophomore Cole Gacke and freshman Orlando Ortiz carried Kansas City Kansas Community College to a much-needed sweep of Labette Thursday.
It took nine innings and a game-winning single by Brandon Green for a come-from-behind 4-3 win in the opener but just five innings for an 11-0 blanking in the nightcap.
The wins vaulted KCKCC (5-5) into a tie for fifth in the Jayhawk Conference and put them over .500 overall at 11-10 heading into a doubleheader at Labette on Saturday.
Gacke was superb in the opener, giving up five hits and just one earned run. He struck out seven, walked none and allowed only two one-out singles the final five innings.
“My first nine-inning game; usually I’m the seven-inning guy,” said Gacke, who joined in the mobbing of Green after his game-winning hit. “I didn’t want to go out there for a 10th inning but I was going.”
Brigham Mooney scored the game-winner, drawing a one-out walk and racing to third on an errant pickoff throw and coming home when Green rifled a two-strike line drive into leftfield.
“The second pitch was a strike and I was mad at myself I didn’t swing at it,” Green said.
KCKCC took a 1-0 lead in the second on singles by Victor Gotay and Adam North and a throwing error, all with two out. Labette tied the game in the fourth on a single, hit batsman and double, and then went ahead 3-1 on a bases-loaded passed ball that scored two runs.
A home run to left by Tyler Pittman ignited KCKCC’s game-tying two-run rally in the sixth. Brandon Still doubled with one out, took third on a passed ball and scored the tying run on a Rorey Combs ground ball.
Ortiz was in complete command in the nightcap, allowing only a third inning two-out single and two walks in five innings. The Blue Devils backed him with 12 hits including seven for extra bases.
Four Blue Devils had a pair of hits as Rorey Combs singled and tripled and Josh Schumacher, Brandon Still and Brigham Mooney each doubled and singled.
Joining the extra hit barrage were Gavin Gifford with a home run; Tyler Pittman with a triple and James Bradley Jr. with a double.
KCKCC took a 2-0 lead just three batters into the first inning. After a leadoff single by Schumacher, Pittman tripled and scored on a Kevin Santiago single.
The Blue Devils added three more runs in the third. Schumacher doubled and with two out, Still singled, Combs tripled and Mooney singled to drive in runs.
Gifford’s home run ignited a 6-run fourth inning that also included a 2-run double by Mooney and run-scoring doubles by Still and Bradley.