GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The McLennan Highlanders stayed alive in the JUCO World Series with an 11-6 win over the San Jacinto Gators Tuesday afternoon at Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Dustin Jourdan picked up the win for the Highlanders and Cole Ridgely got the save.
McLennan scored one run in the top of the second as Tucker Johnson singled, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on a single by Noah McGowan.
?San Jacinto took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Austin Boyd singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Barfield. Garrett Luna singled. Tyler Newcomb followed with a sacrifice bunt, bringing Boyd in to score. Brett Wright was safe at first on a Highlander error. Jon Meyer was then safe on another error, bringing Luna in to score.
The Highlanders exploded for six runs in the top of the third. Kirby Mcguire doubled and scored on a home run by Johnson. James Rudkin doubled and scored on a single by Dimas Ojeda. McGowan and Braxton Wilks both singled. Mason George followed with a single, scoring Ojeda and McGowan. Wilks then scored on a single by Will Fox.
The Gators added a run in the bottom of the third as Austin Homan doubled and scored on single by Walker Pennington.
San Jacinto scored one run in the fifth as Josh Palacios singled, moved to second on a single by Pennington, stole third and scored on a Highlander error.
McLennan added a run in the seventh as McGowan reached first safely on an error, moved to second on a single by Wilks, advanced to third on an error that put George on first and scored on a sacrifice fly by Fox.
The Gators final two runs came in the bottom of the seventh as Palacios doubled and scored on a home run by Pennington.
The Highlanders rounded out the scoring with three runs in the top of the ninth. McGowan doubled and moved to third on a groundout by Wilks. George singled to score McGowan. Fox drew a walk. McGuire then singled to score George and Fox.
?”This game was intense with a high-level of competition,” coach Mitch Thompson said. “We had three different types of days with the weather all in one game: good day, blustery day and rainy day. Two teams were really battling, competing hard, trying to win and advance to play one more day.”
“It feels great. I put the other night behind me. My team really stepped up today. Pitching, hitting, everybody stepped up. It was a good team win,” said second baseman Tucker Johnson.
“We always play well being the underdog, that’s just the type of team we are,” said shortstop Will Fox.
“Today was the first game of the three that we have played that we were able to calm down and just play the game,” Thompson said. “We were ourselves, we made a few mistakes, hit the ball hard and played the game. The atmosphere was nonexistent today and I hope we can do that the rest of the way.”
“[Cole Ridgely] looks like he is about 12, probably 5’8″, 140 pounds soaking wet but he has a big heart and is a great teammate. Cole is going to be Cole out there and he has been phenomenal for us on this run. He has overcome a fractured elbow from last season. He is a stud as far as I’m concerned, a 5’8″, 135 pound grown man.”
McLennan 11, San Jacinto 6
McLennan 016 000 103 – 11 16 4
San Jacinto 021 010 200 – 6 15 5
Nathan Berntess, Dustin Jourdan (5), Cole Ridgely (8) and Mason George. Alex Phillips, Cody Nesbit (5), Jorge Fernandez (9), Hudson Treu (9) and Brett Wright. WP: Jourdan; LP: Phillips; SV: Ridgely. Leading hitters – McLennan: Will Fox (1-3, 2 RBI), Kirby McGuire (2-6, 2B, 2 RBI), Tucker Johnson (2-4, HR, 2 RBI), James Rudkin (2-5, 2B), Dimas Ojeda (1-5, RBI), Noah McGowan (3-4, 2B, RBI), Braxton Wilks (3-5) and Mason George (2-8, 3 RBI); San Jacinto: Austin Homan (2-5, 2B), Josh Palacios (2-5, 2B), Walker Pennington (3-5, HR, 3 RBI), Austin Boyd (2-4),Kyle Barfield (3-4) and Tyler Newcomb (1-2, 2B, RBI). Record: McLennan 39-19.