The Seward County Community College baseball team held its one-game lead in the Jayhawk West Conference with a doubleheader split against Hutchinson Community College on Saturday afternoon at Hobart-Detter Field in Hutchinson. The Saints took the opener 5-2, behind a complete-game effort on the mound from sophomore Tomas Cruz. The Blue Dragons evened the series with a 4-0 win in the nightcap. Freshman Adam Roy hit a three-run home run in the first inning to help the Dragons split the opening-day doubleheader. The No. 12 nationally-ranked Saints (31-15) remain in first place of the Jayhawk West with a 21-5 record, and Hutchinson (31-12) is one game behind the Saints at 20-6 in league play.

Freshman second baseman Trent Martinez scored Austin Roff, who singled in the inning, on a sacrifice fly to give the Saints a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Roff led all players going 3-for-4 with two runs scored in game one.

Seward County added a pair of runs to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning on a two-run RBI single to left field by shortstop Erik Hansen. Hutchinson scored its two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on sophomore Stewart Hoover’s team-leading 11th home run of the season to left-center field.

Cruz battled the remainder of the game notching his ninth victory (9-2), and his sixth complete game of the season. Hutchinson stranded a total of nine runners on base, including the bases loaded in the fifth inning, a runner at third in the sixth and runners at the corners when the game’s final out was recorded in the seventh.

Cruz, 5-foot-10 right-handed pitcher from Amarillo, Texas, scattered six hits, two runs and one walk with three strikeouts.

The Saints added two insurance runs in the seventh inning, sparked by a RBI double from sophomore Michael Drzazga and a RBI single from Roff. Seward County’s game one victory was the first loss of the season for Hutchinson ace pitcher Mitch Stubenhofer, who is now 7-1 this season with a 2.72 earned run average.

Drzazga went 2-for-4, and Hansen finished 2-for-4 with two RBI for Seward County. Hoover went 1-for-3, and Roy collected his team-leading 13th multi-hit game going 2-for-4.

After Roy’s towering three-run homer in the first inning gave the Blue Dragons a 3-0 lead in game two, freshman right-handed pitcher Scott Keffer dominated the Saints’ hitters in his first shutout of the season.

The Saints posted 11 base hits in the opener and then collected only three base hits against Keffer in the nightcap. Keffer allowed only one base runner to reach scoring position until Seward loaded the bases in the seventh.

Despite receiving his fourth loss on the season, SCCC starting pitcher Christian Kowalchuk allowed one run (unearned) and two base hits in his final five innings of work. Kowalchuk retired the side in the second, fifth and sixth innings on his way to allowing five hits while striking out three batters on the day.

The Saints attempted a late rally loading the bases with one out against Keffer in the top of the seventh inning. Keffer then popped up catcher Brock Gifford in the infield, and struck out freshman second baseman Kade Kauk to end the game.

Sophomore Will Gowdy (1-for-3), Roff (1-for-3) and Kauk (1-for-2) were the only Seward County players with a base hit in game two.

Seward County and Hutchinson will finish their four-game conference series with a doubleheader on Sunday, April 20, starting at 1 p.m. at Hobart-Detter Field.

GAME NOTES:
- Since 2005, the Saints and Blue Dragons have split seven-straight conference doubleheaders verses one another… Seward County holds a narrow 8-7 lead over Hutchinson during this time frame – with the one post-season game going to the Saints in a 7-6 victory in 14 innings during a second round contest at the Region VI Tournament in 2006.

- Seward County’s victory in game one snapped Hutchinson’s 14-game Jayhawk West Conference winning streak… Seward County has now won 20 of its last 23 games… Hutchinson has now collected wins in 18 of its last 20 games.

- HCC starting pitcher Mitch Stubenhofer had allowed a miniscule .064 (3-for-47) opponents batting average in two-out situations this season… The Saints doubled Stubenhofers’ season total of two-out hits allowed after recorded three against him in game one.

- It was the first time the Saints had been shutout since a 3-0 loss to Northeastern Colorado Junior College (Feb. 22) in their sixth game of the season.

- Hutchinson is now 19-0 this season when leading after six-innings of play… The Blue Dragons, who are 27-2 when outhitting their opponent, are now 4-9 when allowing more base hits to their opponent.

- Tomas Cruz moved into a tie for sixth-place all-time in Seward County history for career wins earning his 14th victory… Cruz’ nine wins this season tie him for eighth-place in Saints’ single-season history.