PUEBLO, Colo. – The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team won their 7thstraight game after taking an Empire Conference doubleheader from Trinidad State College Friday in Pueblo, Colorado.

                The first game saw Hunter McCollum strike out nine from the hill and while Ashton Ross had a double, home run and three RBIs in the Cougars’ 11-2 win over the Trojans.

                The second game saw Shintaro Inoue belt two home runs with three RBIs as the Cougars scored five runs in the final four innings for the 7-5 win.

Inoue’s two home runs moves him into second place on the all-time home run list. Inoue now has 22 home runs and needs three more to become the all-time career home run hitter, passing Pete Rogers who played for the Cougars in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

                More importantly, it moves the Cougars to 15-16 overall and 6-0 in the Empire Conference standings. WNCC is one game ahead of the conference lead ahead of McCook Community College who is 5-1 in conference standings.
                WNCC and Trinidad State will have two more conference games on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. in Pueblo. WNCC will then return home for a scheduled doubleheader with Garden City Community College on Tuesday.

                The first game between the two squads saw WNCC strike first with two in the second and never trailed in the 7-inning contest.

                The second inning started when Tyler Easter walked. Ross then took the first pitch and sky-rocketed over the leftfield fence for the 2-0 lead.

                Trinidad got one back in the bottom of the second, but the Cougars plated six runs in the fourth inning to lead 8-1. Ross started the offensive show with a double. Tucker Deal then had a run-scoring single for the 3-1 lead. Mathieu Levesque followed with a run-scoring single for a 4-1 lead.

                With the bases juiced, Kensei Oikawa scored on a wild pitch followed by Levesque scoring on a ground out. The final two runs of the inning both scored on fielding errors for the 8-1 lead.

                WNCC put the game away with three in the sixth when Dylan Harris walked and Ryan Platt reached on a fielding error. Inoue then scored two with a single and Inoue scored on a fielder’s choice hit.

                WNCC finished with nine hits in the contest. Easter, Ross, and Oikawa each had two hits. Ross had the only two extra base hits with his double and home runs along with two runs scored and three RBIs.

                McCollum had a strong outing on the mound, going six innings in scattering six hits and allowing two runs while striking out nine.

                The second game saw the Cougars have to battle back after falling behind 4-1 after three innings. WNCC did score first as Easter singled and scored on a Ross double in the second inning for the 1-0 lead.

                Trinidad came back with four runs in the third as O. Mabee slammed a 2-out grand slam for the 4-1 lead.

                WNCC picked up the pace after that on offense and defense by scoring single runs in the fourth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings and then adding two in the ninth.

                The fourth frame saw WNCC load the bases with no outs. Inoue scored on a fielding error to make it 4-2.

                WNCC scored one in the sixth on a lead-off Inoue solo home run and tied the game at 4-4 in the seventh on a Dylan Harris sacrifice fly that scored Arturo Montiel.

                WNCC went ahead 5-4 with another run in the eighth when Levesque singled in Bryce Peterson. The Cougars then added two insurance runs in the ninth when Harris singled and scored on a 2-out Inoue home run to leftfield for the 7-4 lead.

                WNCC finished with 10 hits in the contest to just four for Trinidad. Inoue, Easter, and Ross each had two hits. Inoue had two home runs along with three runs scored and three RBIs. Ross had another double for his third on the day.

                Adrian Short started on the hill and went six innings in allowing just one hit with four runs and striking out six. Rocco Harmon relieved Short and tossed the final three innings to get the win. Harmon allowed three hits with one run scored and three strikeouts.         


Game 1

WNCC                 020 603 0 – 11 9 2

Trinidad               010 001 0 – 2 6 6

WP – Hunter McCollum.

2B – Ashton Ross.

HR – Ashton Ross.


Game 2
WNCC                 010 101 112 – 7 10 0
Trinidad               004 000 001 – 5 4 2

WP – Rocco Harmon.

2B – Ashton Ross.

HR – Shintaro Inoue 2.