MCC Baseball sweeps Luna; Headed to Colorado Springs
The McCook Community College baseball swept into the final four of the Region IX post-season tournament Saturday with a 10-2 win over Luna Community College. The Indians move on to Colorado Springs where they will play Lamar Community College Thursday at the UCHealth Field.
On Saturday the Indians kept the offense rolling, scoring in each of the first four innings and freshman starting pitcher Max Mrakovcic (Sydney, Australia) went six strong innings to pick up the win with relief help from Alex Lozada (sophomore, San Juan, Puerto Rico).
“We really got good pitching in this series, both starters were really good and Alex striking out the side with a guy on third base with no outs to end the game was big,” said MCC Coach Jon Olsen.
MCC only used three pitchers to sweep the series. Sophomore Arjun Huerta (Willemstad, Curacao) pitched all nine innings Friday, striking out 12 in a 6-1 win.
Luna scored a run in the first inning Saturday off Mrakovcic; after two quick outs on six pitchers, Mrakovcic hit a batter, walked the next and the Rough Riders were able to score a run on a wild pitch.
MCC countered in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff walk by Huerta, a single by freshman Daniel Bannon (Sydney Australia), and a doubleplay ball.
Sophomore Kade Wroot (North Platte) was hit by a pitch to lead off the MCC second. Sophomore Caleb Eiguren, (Broomfield, Colo.) and Jordan DeMarce, freshman (Las Vegas, Nevada) singled to give MCC a 2-1 lead. A Rough Rider error brought home one run and a double by sophomore Elijah Munoz (Big Spring, Texas) drove home DeMarce. A wild pitch let in another to make it a 5-1 game.
“We got the bats going in the middle innings -- which when we get rolling we can put some good swings on it,” Olsen said.
Wroot lined a one-out single in the third and with two out scored on a DeMarce triple. North Platte freshman Benny Brockmoller singled home DeMarce and Munoz followed with two-run home run to left field to put the Tribe up 9-1.
“I thought our mentality going into the weekend was good, and we got our offense from some different spots, DeMarce, Munoz, and Benny were really good for us -- especially yesterday,” Olsen said. “We have a deep lineup so even if we aren’t getting what we need from one part of it we have other spots to pick us up.”
On Saturday the trio was seventh, eighth and ninth in the batting order and collectively went five for nine with five runs scored and seven RBIs. For the series DeMarce went five-for-seven; Munoz went five-for-seven and Brockmoller was three-for seven.
The Indians added a final run in the fourth inning. Sophomore Ricardo Hernandez (Ponce, Puerto Rico) lined a one-out single, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI-single off the bat of freshman Zack Beatty (Maple Park, Ill.)
Mrakovcic pitched through the sixth inning, allowing two earned runs, walking three, allowing five hits and he struck out eight. Lozada pitched the seventh and after allowing a leadoff single and a walk, struck the final three hitters out.
MCC out-hit the Rough Riders 11-8 with two each from Munoz, Eiguren and DeMarce.
Luna ends the season at 13-25.
MCC improves to 31-25 and will take on the south’s top seed, Lamar, in a game starting at 2 p.m. (MT) Thursday. The Runnin’ Lopes advanced by sweeping Northeastern Junior College at home, 14-5, 11-10.
The Tribe took three of our games against Lamar in McCook on March 20-21. MCC won 7-1 and 19-16 in the Saturday doubleheader, lost the first game Sunday 8-5 and came back to win the series with a 7-3 win.
“Our goal has always been to win the region and you can’t do that without getting through this weekend and we got over another hurdle, we are excited to go play next weekend,” Olsen said.
In the other first-round matchup Southeast Community College and Otero are tied at 1-1 with Game 3 to take place Sunday. The winner of that series will take on Western Nebraska. The Cougars swept Trinidad State Friday 17-14, 11-10. SECC won its first game Friday over Otero 15-1, dropped a game Saturday, 4-1, then won 13-2 on Sunday.
A win against Lamar would put MCC into a championship bracket game Friday at 2 p.m. against the winner of the SECC/Western Nebraska game and a loss would move the Indians to an elimination game against the SECC/Western Nebraska loser at 10 a.m. Friday.
For more photos from today’s game please visit the McCook Community College Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MPCCMcCook