A 31-minute top half of the first inning here Monday included walks, walks and more walks — with a hit batter thrown in for good measure.
That added up to an eight-run eruption for the Park City Rangers, who rode that wave to a 12-5 victory over the McPherson Pipeliners in a baseball game called in the top of the ninth inning due to lightning.
The loss was the first at home for the Liners after three wins. They are now 3-5 overall and 1-4 in the Kansas Collegiate League Baseball.
It was a disappointing loss for the Pipeliners as the Rangers had started the year 1-5 and had been hammered in their last two games.
Six walks and a hit batter led to the Rangers’ first-inning outburst as it got to the point where they didn’t swing the bats and just walked around the bases.
For the Pipeliners, there were three bright spots. John Mareks, celebrating his 22nd birthday, crushed a long homer, as did Clayton Peterson. McPherson College pitcher Tyler Dunn saved the bullpen with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
“He hasn’t pitched since our second game,” McPherson manager Caleb Hartman said of Dunn. “He had a little bit of an elbow issue. He pitched well for us, did what he was supposed to do.”
The Rangers led 12-1 after six innings before Dunn finally put out the fire. The Pipeliners tried to chip away, but their only big hits were the solo homers.
“I wish there had been more runners on,” Hartman said. “Obviously I’d like to see a couple of guys on, but it is what it is.”
Hartman said his team’s inconsistent pitching will need to improve if the team is to go on a streak. He noted when the starting pitching is good, the bullpen struggles and vice versa.
After a day off today, the Pipeliners are back home Wednesday for a rematch with the Rangers. First pitch at Tiger Stadium (Light Capital Diamond) is 7:00.