Saints Assault Cloud Pitching to Finish Sweep

KSCB News - April 11, 2016 6:37 am

The Seward County Saints put up 28 more runs Sunday against the Cloud County Thunderbirds, sweeping away the Birds from Liberal with 9-5 and 19-9 wins to improve to 12-8 in Jayhawk West Conference play on the year.

The Saints jumped on the T-Birds right away in game three of the series, scoring three times in the bottom half of the 1st inning, getting an RBI double from Judah Sweat, an RBI groundout from Antonio Dorado and a sacrifice fly from Dylan Paul to take a 3-0 advantage early on.

Seward scored three more in the 2nd as Brian Tims bounced a double down the right field line to score one, Logan Nethercot drove home another on a groundout and Sweat came up with a two out single to right to make it a 6-0 game.

Cloud got their first run of the game on a two out triple to the wall in the 3rd to cut the Saints lead to 6-1, but Seward got the run right back in the bottom half on a double off the left field fence from Chad Kennedy to push their lead back to six at 7-1.

The T-Birds finally got something going in the 4th, ripping five hits and scoring four runs to cut the Saints lead to just two at 7-5.

Seward stretched their lead back to four in the 5th as Dylan Paul singled to right to plate a run and Josh Nicol poked a ball up the middle to make it a 9-5 game.

Back to back one out hits for Cloud in the 6th put the T-Birds in business and forced Seward to their bullpen, but Trent Mulherin provided the relief that the Saints were looking for, getting a double play ball on his first delivery to the plate, ending the threat and the inning, keeping the Saints in front 9-5.

After Seward went in order in the bottom of the 6th, Mulherin came back out to finish off the T-Birds in the 7th and that he did, setting Cloud down 1-2-3 in their final at bats to slam the door and give the Saints a 9-5 win.

Cloud outhit Seward 8-7 in the game, but T-Bird pitching walked five Saints hitters, all of which scored, making the difference in the Seward win. Sweat had two hits and two RBI’s in the victory while Paul also drove home a pair for Seward. Jared Biddy earned the win on the mound for Seward, improving to 5-0 on the year as he went 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and five runs while striking out five. Mulherin earned his first save of the year, pitching a clean final 1 2/3 innings to close things out for the Saints.


The 1st inning of game four of the series was an ugly preview for what was to come for the next eight innings. The Saints made an error to begin the game and couldn’t get an out on a bunt two batters later to load the bases for the T-Birds with nobody out in the inning. After back to back strikeouts from Errett Edwards in his first career start for Seward, Edwards issued a walk to push a run home and hand Cloud a 1-0 lead.

The T-Birds gave it right back to Seward in the bottom of the inning, walking five Seward hitters as the Saints scored three times with just one hit, taking a 3-1 lead after one.

Cloud quickly tied the game up with a two run bomb in the top of the 2nd and took the lead on a passed ball to go in front 4-3 after 1 ½.

More Cloud unraveling in the 3rd allowed the Saints to take the lead back as T-Bird pitching walked a pair and Cloud booted a ground ball that would have ended the inning to allow a run to score to tie the game at four. Taking advantage of the extra out, Sweat swatted a single to right to score another run and put the Saints in front 5-4.

Into the game out of the Saints bullpen, Nic Ricigliano worked a 1-2-3 to half of the 4th for Seward and the Saints blew the game open in the bottom half of the frame.

Again it was Cloud undoing itself, walking two and committing another error to allow the Saints to score their first run of the frame before a slicing triple down the line off the bat of Justin Graff-Rowe scored three and pushed the Seward lead to 9-4. Cloud’s second error of the inning allowed another Saints run to score and two out RBI knocks from Nethercot and Kennedy stretched their lead all the way to 12-4.

Cloud got a run back in their next at bats and scored three more in the 6th to make it a 12-8 game.

Seward got one in the 6th themselves to make it a 13-8 game and Saints righthander Jonathan Castillo worked himself out of trouble in the Cloud 7th to keep the score that way at stretch time.

Graff-Rowe drove home his fifth run of the game with a sac fly in the 7th and Sweat collected another hit to stretch the Saints lead to 15-8. An RBI single from Nethercot doubled the T-Birds up at 16-8 and Cloud’s sixth error of the game plated another Seward run to make it 17-8.

Cloud scored without a hit in the top of the 8th to make it a 17-9 game, but they wouldn’t get a chance to hit again.

Seward took advantage of three Cloud County walks and two T-Bird wild pitches to score a run and load the bases before Nethercot singled through a drawn in infield to score another and force the run rule to kick in in a 19-9 Seward County win.

The Saints had 16 hits in the win and used 17 walks by T-Bird pitching and eight Cloud errors to capture the win. Graff-Rowe finished with an interesting line, going 1 for 3 while driving home four and scoring four runs. Sweat was 3 for 6 with three RBI’s and three runs scored. Nethercot also had three runs and drove home four while Kennedy reached base five times with three hits and two walks. Ricigliano earned the win in relief for Seward, going 3 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and three earned runs to improve to pick up his first collegiate win on the mound. Castillo earned a save, going the final 2 2/3 innings for the Saints, giving up just two hits while striking out four.


The Saints have now won 10 of their past 12 Jayhawk West games to improve to 22-18 overall and 12-8 in conference play where they now sit in 5th place, just one game out of 4th and just three out of the top spot currently held by Hutchinson. Cloud County’s miserable 2016 continues as the T-Birds fall to 7-32 overall with the sweep and see their Jayhawk West record drop all the way to 3-21 where they are now five games out from even being able to make the Region VI Tournament in 9th place.

Seward will now take on Frank Phillips in non-conference action on the road Wednesday before returning to league action Saturday and Sunday on the road in El Dorado where they will take on a struggling Butler Grizzlies group in a four game set.


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