By Mike Pilosof
Liberal, KS-All the positive play that transpired during Garden City's non-conference schedule failed to transfer into the conference season.
Monday was just another example of that.
Monique Ashley won her 18th game of the season in the circle, and Sage Harrison drilled her 10th home run of the season as Seward County swept the Broncbusters 4-0 and 8-5 at Saints Field.
In game one, Ashley was simply dominant, scattering five hits while striking out seven in seven innings of work. She did not allow her first hit until Bailee Muxlow-Volk lined a single to left in the third.
While Ashley kept the Garden City (11-23, 0-8) bats at bay, Seward County (33-12, 8-2) struck first when Taylor Kahler doubled home Harrison in the second for the Saints first run. Alexis Cuellar added an RBI groundout, and Seward County had a 2-0 advantage. They plated two more in the third thanks to Sydney Epp's sharp, run-scoring single to right and Nicole Milford's error that allowed Epp to come around.
Broncbusters starter Samantha Akers dropped to 4-9 in the circle, allowing three earned runs on five hits in six innings. She struck out one and walked two while the defense behind her committed two more errors.
The second game began more promising for Garden City. Michaela Martinez knocked in Milford and Rebekah Roberts on an RBI groundout before Tamra Rushing wacked a two-run double for a 4-0 lead in the first.
But the Saints responded quickly in the bottom half, slicing the deficit to two when Epp doubled home a run and came around to score on Paige St. Pierre's single to center. Seward then tied the game in the second when Cuellar scored on Jordan Garrison's RBI groundout and Jullian Atteberry's infield single that pushed Harrison home from third; then took the lead in the third behind singles from Kathler and Cuellar that made it 6-4.
After Milford doubled home a run in the top of the fourth that cut the Saints lead to 6-5, Harrison answered resoundingly in the fifth with a two-run shot off of Desiree Perea that gave the Saints an 8-5 cushion.
Epp started the game for Seward but lasted just 2/3 of an inning, allowing four runs on three hits. Ruby Gonzalez relieved her and limited the Broncbusters to just one run on seven hits while improving to 8-4.
Perea dropped to 4-8, yielding four runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.