For the Daily Reporter
GREENFIELD — During the national anthem Friday night, the American flag looked as if it might blow off the flag pole at Molinder Field.
Unfortunately for pitchers, that wind was blowing straight out to center field.
The Cougars used that wind and solid pitching in Game 1 to bludgeon their way to an 18-2 victory against Delta. The script definitely flipped in the second game however, as a pitchers’ duel fell the Cougars’ way in a 2-1 victory.
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“There aren’t going to be many sweeps [in the HHC doubleheaders] this year,” Cougars coach Robbie Miller said afterwards. “So any time you can get a sweep or win three out of four conference games like we have so far definitely keeps you in contention for the crown.”
The Cougars put the result of Game 1 out of doubt in the first inning. The Cougars sent 18 total batters to the plate, and of the first 16 of those, the only out recorded was a sacrifice bunt. Adam Hutchison and Braxton Turner both hit home runs for the Cougars in the 10-hit inning, and the Cougars led 14-0 at the end of the first.
“I talked to Delta’s coach in between games, and he was saying he’d never seen so many hard hit balls in one inning,” Miller said. “The thing I liked about it was that it was spots one through nine that were hitting it hard, which we hadn’t been doing.”
The rest of the game was academic for the Cougars, as both teams used the lopsided scoreline to get young players experience. Highlights for the young Cougars included freshmen Carson Gibson and Gavin Atwood in the fourth inning. Gibson lofted a single over the second baseman’s head, and two batters later Atwood launched a pitch over the Cougars’ green monster for his first career home run.
Keeping the Delta offense in check was junior Bradley McDowell, who pitched a complete game five innings with six strikeouts and allowing five scattered hits.
The second game opened up much differently than the first. Over the first three innings, the teams combined for one hit in the first four innings.
The score remained 0-0 into the top of the sixth, when Hutchison, who was pitching the second game, came to the plate and launched one over the left-field fence to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead. The Eagles were able to scrape across one run in the sixth inning, but Hutchison struck out the Eagles final batter with the tying and winning run on third and second base respectively.
“Hutch wasn’t himself last week,” Miller said. “But tonight he was on top of his game and added to that with a clutch hit.”
The victories improve the Cougars record to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the HHC. They play next Friday night at home in a 5:30 p.m. doubleheader against Yorktown.