Dropping a pair of games to the Laramie Colts on Sunday afternoon, both by walk-off, didn't sit well with the Boulder Collegians.
To add to it, Wednesday's first inning against the Black Bears wasn't the shiny start the team was hoping for back home at Scott Carpenter Park, either.
But with a determination to turn a corner started primarily on the hill by Cochise Junior College's Brett Matthews and which worked its way through a dependable defense, the Collegians didn't let the Laramie letdown linger for long.
Sparked by a four-RBI night from Austin Piscotty, the Collegians opened their doubleheader against the Black Bears with a 6-2 win. Boulder strung together some hits and had two home runs — Piscotty was joined by catcher Jon Schafer in that statistical column — and Tanner Johnson shut the door with two innings of solid relief pitching.
"It was a great bounce back for us after a tough weekend up in Laramie. We had two games we thought we should have won but let slip through our fingers but it feels good to get going the right way," said Piscotty, who plays for St. Mary's College in California, a Division I program. "Brett stayed locked in after the first inning, and that effort on the bump was huge."
The Collegians improved to 9-5 overall with the win and more importantly shook off losses of 6-5 and 7-6 to a Laramie team that is near the bottom of the Rocky Mountain Baseball League standings. The Black Bears dropped to 6-7 prior to the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader at SCP.
Matthews gave up a pair of runs in the first inning but refused to allow multiple baserunners in any single inning after that. After Piscotty had given the Collegians a 3-2 lead with a blast to right field in the bottom of the second inning, Matthews worked out of a jam in the third frame in which the tying run was on third base.
Again in the fifth, he stranded a runner at third to keep the Collegians ahead.
Schafer hit a solo home run to lead off the sixth and after Skyler Messinger (2-for-3, two runs) singled and Danny David Linahan drew the third of his three walks, Piscotty delivered a run-scoring double to make it 5-2.
Johnson, of Garden City Community College, finished off the seventh with a strikeout to seal a victory not of the garden variety. The two pitchers combined for just one walk, which has plagued the team in their losses.
"We made sure to get the right work in the past couple days," Piscotty said. "We have the talent to play well, and it was big time that our pitching was able to step up today."
"What killed us in Laramie was walks — we just walked way too many guys," added Collegians head coach Haas Pratt. "I think we did a much better job of throwing strikes and making guys swing the bat. Brett threw strikes with guys on and gave the defense a chance to make plays to get out of innings. We are pleased with how we conducted business there."
The Collegians have a non-league game Thursday against the Sterling Xpress (SCP, 6 p.m.).
Boulder Collegians 6, Black Bears 2
At Scott Carpenter Park
Black Bears200 000 0 — 2 8 1
Boulder Collegians030 003 x — 6 6 1
W — Matthews. S — Johnson.
Collegians hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Reynolds 3-0-0-0, Moreland 3-0-0-0, Meyers 3-0-0-0, Schafer 3-1-1-1, Messinger 3-2-2-0, Linahan 0-2-0-0, Piscotty 3-1-2-4, Thane 3-0-1-0, Lovato 2-0-0-1. 2B —Piscotty. HR —Piscotty, Schafer.
Collegians pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Matthews 5-7-2-2-0-2, Johnson 2-1-0-0-1-1.