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Dragons Settle for Split with Beavers


Sterling Sutcliffe is congratulated by third-base coach Toby Cornejo after his second of three home runs in Thursday’s doubleheader split with Pratt at Hobart-Detter Field.

By Hutchinson CC Sports Information
HUTCHINSON


Sterling Sutcliffe

 continued his power surge and 

Jack Whitlock

 twirled his fourth Jayhawk West complete game of the season on Thursday at Hobart-Detter Field, but the Hutchinson Community College baseball team managed only a split of the first two games of a four-game series with Pratt.

Whitlock got early run support from a first-inning Sutcliffe three-run home run as Hutchinson opened the series with a 9-2 victory over the Beavers. Sutcliffe hit two more homers and drove in four runs in Game 2, but it wasn’t enough as Pratt snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Blue Dragons with a 5-4.

The Blue Dragons are now 28-21 overall and 14-12 in the Jayhawk West. The Blue Dragons trail Butler by one game – the teams are tied in the loss column – for fourth place in the Jayhawk West with six games remaining in the regular season. Butler has a conference bye this week and has four league games to play. Pratt is now 19-29 overall and 6-20 in the Jayhawk West. Games 3 and 4 will be Saturday at Stanion Field in Pratt beginning at 1 p.m.

Sutcliffe, a sophomore from Dallas, was a combined 5 for 7 with three home runs and seven RBIs on Thursday. Over his last six games, Sutcliffe is 13 for 25 (.520) with seven home runs and 25 RBIs. Now with a team-high 17 home runs for the season, Sutcliffe moved into a second-place tie in the KJCCC and ninth-place tie in the NJCAA for home runs.

Sutcliffe is now tied with Tim Olson (1999) and Michael Helman (2017) for fifth on the Blue Dragon single-season home run list.

GAME 1 RECAP
Whitlock improved to 6-3 for the season to lead the Blue Dragons in the opening game of the series.

Whitlock faced the minimum through four innings, getting a double play to erase a second-inning leadoff single. He struggled with his command through the final three innings, allowing single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

For the game, Whitlock allowed six hits, two earned runs and a walk while striking out five.

The offense game Whitlock plenty of early run support.

Sutcliffe gave him a three-run homer to center in the first inning. 

Ben McLaughlin

 launched a two-run home run in the second inning and 

Jack Torosian

 singled home Sutcliffe in the third inning to build a 6-0 lead. Leading 6-1 in the fifth, 

Kael Babin

‘s two-run single and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch to 

Ryan Henderson

 highlighted a three-run inning for a 9-1 lead.

The Blue Dragons out-hit Pratt 10-6 in Game 1.

Sutcliffe was 2 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. McLaughlin was 2 for 3 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs. McLaughlin now has 27 career home runs, which moves him into a second-place tie with Tim Olson on the Hutchinson career home run list. 

Braedyn Sommer

 also had two hits in the game.

GAME 2 RECAP
Pratt built a 5-1 lead through 4 1/2 innings on the power of two Michael Acosta home runs. The Beavers then had to hold on as the Dragons stranded six of their 11 runners left on base in the final four innings – five runners were stranded in the eighth and ninth innings.

Sutcliffe was 3 for 2 for with two homers and a triple to lead the Blue Dragons. Sutcliffe drove in all four Blue Dragons runs in Game 2. He hit a solo home run in the second inning to cut the Pratt lead to 3-1. His two-run triple in the fifth trimmed the Pratt lead to 5-3. He led off the eighth with a home run to close within 5-4.

The 11 total bases by Sutcliffe tied Kori Jensen (2007) and Jake Schleppenbach (2014) for fifth most in Blue Dragon single-game history.


Hunter Gotreaux

 had the only other multi-hit game for the Dragons going 2 for 5 with a pair of infield hits and a stolen base.


Ben Dandelet

 (1-1) took the loss on the mound. He struck out six over four innings and allowed four hits – two were homers by Acosta – walked none, but hit two batters.



Relief pitchers 

Brady Beverman



Reed Scott

 and 

Kaden Wickersham

 provided five innings of shutout ball with a combined five strikeouts.

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