By RON PRESTON
The Abilene Cowboys’ baseball team split a double header with Riley County on Friday night at Ted Power Field.
Senior Nolan Berry toed the rubber for the Cowboys in game one against the Trojans. Berry allowed one run on four hits in an 8-1 Cowboy win. Berry struck five and walked three Riley County batters.
The Cowboys scored two runs in their half of the first inning on a couple of walks and a hit by Berry driving in Grant Prichard and Chase Stalder for a 2-0 Cowboy lead.
Abilene put the game away in the bottom of the sixth by scoring six runs on six hits and a Trojan error.
Shortstop Matt McClanahan began the inning with a single to left followed by a single to right field by Prichard and walks by Stalder and Berry.
Aggressive base running and errors from Riley County helped the Cowboys score their runs in the sixth.
Cowboy leftfielder Colton Mills singled to right to drive in two runs and a third scored on a Riley County error. Mills stole second base and scored on shortstop Tanner Hoekman’s single to right field.
Hoekman scored the sixth run for the Cowboys in the inning on first baseman Chris Cease’s single to right centerfield.
McClanahan singled, as the Cowboys batted around in the inning, but was thrown out at second on an inning-ending double play by Riley County.
Riley County scored its lone run the top of the sixth on three hits and a Cowboy error to make the final 8-1 Cowboys.
Berry went the distance in game one getting the Trojans in order in the top of the seventh.
“I was happy with the way Nolan threw the ball in the first game and the way we swung the bat, although we left some runners on in spots,” said Cowboy head Coach Travis Bartley.
The second game was a totally different story for the Cowboys pitching and defense failed them in a 16-2 loss in five innings.
“We had trouble throwing strikes early and just fell apart after that,” Bartley said.
Hunter Combes started on the hill for the Cowboys and was struck for five runs in the first and three more in the second before giving way to Cease in relief.
Cease would be charged with seven more Trojan runs before Stalder came onto pitch the final two innings for the Cowboys allowing the final run for the Trojans.
The Cowboys two runs scored in their half of the second when Berry walked and advanced to third on a single by Mills.
Berry scored on an error and Mills advanced to second on the play. He scored on a single to left by Hoekman.
The Cowboys got three hits in the third inning but were unable to score as the Trojan pitching and defense stiffened enough to keep the Cowboys from crossing the plate.
“Defensively we didn’t commit a whole bunch of errors but they came at bad times and when they did we gave them free at bats and then we’d boot a ball or make a bad throw,” Bartley said.
“For the night we were good in the first half and horrible the second half and we’ve got to find an answer to get over that,” Bartley concluded.
The Cowboys next action comes Tuesday when they host Marysville.
Riley Cty. 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 – 1-4-2
Abilene 2 0 0 0 6 0 x – 8-10-1
WP: Berry (2-0)
Riley Cty. 5 5 5 1 0 - 16-13-1
Abilene 0 2 0 0 0 - 2- 6-1
LP: Combes (0-2)