By Mike Pilosof
Borger, TX-The Broncbusters offense looked in midseason form, scoring a combined 23 runs in a two-game sweep of Frank Phillips, 10-1 and 13-10 Monday afternoon.
"I felt like we had a much better day overall," Head Coach Becky Gundy said afterwards.
Garden City (3-1) absolutely exploded in the opening frame of game one. Taylore Hartman ripped a three-run triple, and freshman Bailey Brawner hit a two-run single to give the Broncbusters a 5-0 lead.
"We challenged our 4-5-6 hitters that they had to have more of an impact on the game," Gundy said.
Her message was well received as Hartman, Micaela Martinez and Erica Vessels combined for seven of Garden City's 13 hits in the first game. And it was Martinez who applied the devastating blow with a two-run bomb off Anndrea Cortez in the top of the third that gave the road squad a 7-0 edge.
"I really felt like the middle of the order stepped up to that challenge," Gundy said.
Garden City polished off the run rule-victory in the sixth with Hartman's two-run double and Ariel Denney's sacrifice fly that gave the Broncbusters a nine-run cushion.
"It just seemed like everyone was a little more comfortable today," Gundy said.
That applied to Samantha Akers, who tossed an absolute gem, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out seven.
"We got a much better performance out of Sam," Gundy said. "You could she was settled in much better."
Akers improved to 2-0 while her counterpart Cortez took the loss giving up 10 runs on 13 hits in 5.1 innings.
In game two, Gundy's team put their rally caps on.
Denney, making her second collegiate start, spotted Frank Phillips a 4-0 lead on two singles and a run-scoring double by Ciara Riendeau in the top of the first.
"Ariel started a little bit slowly, but we were able to rally around her, and our offense scored some runs," Gundy said.
Garden City got going in the third thanks to Hartman, whose two-run double to center sliced the Plainsmen lead in half. Two batters later, Vessels doubled home Hartman; then came around to score on an error by first baseman Shelby Wiley to tie the game at 4.
"I thought we did a really good job of executing when we fell behind," Gundy said.
The two teams exchanged the lead over the next couple of frames with the Plainsmen going in front 5-4 when Denney gave up an RBI single to Hannah Hall in the fifth. The Broncbusters answered the following inning once Martinez roped a two RBI double to right for a 6-5 advantage only to have Frank Phillips counter with another Hall double and an error on Jessy Ortiz that allowed a run to score, pushing the Plainsmen back on top 7-6.
"Before we went into that eighth inning, we knew exactly what we were going to do," Gundy said.
Garden City's offense found its groove, and Hartman's RBI single put the Broncbusters in front for good. Two batters later, Vessels doubled home a pair before Angel Jimenez cranked a two-run homer to left, giving Garden City a 13-7 lead.
"Angel really came up big in that inning," Gundy said.
Frank Phillips had their own rally in the bottom half, scoring three runs off of Akers. But the veteran pitcher fanned Shelby Wiley and Shelby Coats to end the game.
Akers picked up the win in relief, improving to 3-0, allowing two runs on three hits in two innings. Denney went six, giving up six earned runs on 12 hits. She struck out eight and walked two.
Coats struggled in the circle for Frank Phillips, allowing 12 runs on 14 hits, including the game-changing two-run blast in the eighth.
Next up: Garden City vs. Frank Phillips-Wednesday, Feb. 21-1 p.m. and 3 p.m.