Blue Dragon players swarm Zane Schmidt after he hit his third home run of the game, a two-run walk-off homer to give Hutch a come-from-behind 8-7 win over Garden City on Thursday at Hobart-Detter Field. (Sammi Carpenter/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Blue Dragon players swarm Zane Schmidt after he hit his third home run of the game, a two-run walk-off homer to give Hutch a come-from-behind 8-7 win over Garden City on Thursday at Hobart-Detter Field. (Sammi Carpenter/Blue Dragon Sports Information)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

Freshman Zane Schmidt hit a walk-off home run and tied a team record with one swing of the bat on Thursday.

Schmidt hit a two-run game-winning home run to complete an improbable comeback for the Hutchinson Community College baseball team as the Blue Dragons rallied with three runs in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Garden City 8-7 in the opening game of a four-game Jayhawk West series at Hobart-Detter Field.

Jake Bunz then pitched seven strong innings and Zach Baxley's two-run home run in the fourth inning was the difference as the Blue Dragons defeated the Broncbusters 3-1 in in Game 2.

Taking the first two games of a Jayhawk West series for the first time this season, the Blue Dragons improve to 18-12 overall and 9-5 in the Jayhawk West. With Seward County's sweep of Barton on Thursday in Liberal, the Blue Dragons and Cougars are now tied for first place in the Jayhawk West. Garden City falls to 17-11 and 3-7 in the Jayhawk West.

The Blue Dragons trailed the series opener 4-0 after 4 1/2 innings, 7-4 after 5 1/2 and 7-5 after six innings. With each deficit, Schmidt had an answer.

Schmidt's first two plate appearances were called third strikes. He then homered in his next three at-bats to tie the Blue Dragon single-game record of Michael Helman, set May 5, 2016 in the Region VI Tournament. Schmidt tallied six RBIs, which tied for the fifth most in single-game history.

Trailing 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh, the first two Blue Dragons were retired. Will Reetz then doubled to center field and scored on Logan Sartori's single to center to cut the Buster lead to 7-6. On the first pitch after a Garden City mound visit, Schmidt hit a walk-off two-run home run to right-center field to complete 8-7 comeback victory.

Down 4-0 in the fifth, the Blue Dragons caught a break when Garden City mishandled a probable double play ball off the bat of Sartori. Schmidt then hit his first homer of the game to right-center to cut the Dragon deficit to 4-3. The Dragons tied the game at 4-all with an infield single by Baxley to plate Dylan Nedved.

Garden City, which scored all seven of its runs with two out in Game 1, immediately answered with a three-run top of the sixth when Turner McDonald singled home the go-ahead run and Sean Klein hit a two-run homer to give the Busters a 7-4 lead.

Schmidt, who took over the Jayhawk West home run lead with his 10th, 11th and 12th homers of the season, launched his second homer of the game to lead off the sixth and cut the Garden lead to 7-5.

Zach Philbin pitched a 1-2-3 top of the seven to earned the pitching victory and improve to 3-0. Philbin struck out 2 of the 3 batters he faced in the seventh. Miguel Reyes pitched 5 2-3 innings for a no decision. Reyes allowed six hits, six runs, five earned runs and four walks while striking out six.

Offensively, the Blue Dragons out-hit Garden City 12-7 with five extra-base hits.

Sartori and Max McGuire both had two hits. Sartori scored two runs and drove in one.

The Dragons stranded 11 runners on base.

Bunz improved to 5-1 this season with seven strong innings for the Blue Dragons. He allowed three hits and one unearned run while striking out seven and walking two.

Bunz worked out of a second inning where Garden City got its first two batters on to start the second, but struck out 2 of the next 3 batters to get out of that inning unscathed. After allowing an unearned run in the third, Bunz allowed only two base runners over his final four innings of work.

Garden City's Jake Barber led off the third with a single. He then stole second and third and scored on a throwing error by Hutch centerfielder Jeremiah Ceasar for a 1-0 Buster lead. The Blue Dragons then cashed in on a Garden City error in the bottom of the third. One batter after the inning, Moritz singled home Reetz with two out to tie the game at 1-all.

In the fourth, Christopher Noble singled to lead off to the inning. Baxley then uncorked a two-run home run to straightaway center field for a 3-1 lead. Hutchinson out-hit Garden City 8-4 in the second game. Baxley's homer was the only extra-base hit in the game,

Zach Firmature took over on the mound to start the eighth and walked the first two batters he faced. Ryan Summers then took over on the bound. After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk to designated hitter Corbin Truslow to load the bases with one out, Nedved made the defensive play of the game for Hutchinson to get a ground ball behind the second-base bag, stepped on the base and started an inning-ending 6-3 double play.

Summers gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but coaxed a game-ending 4-6-3 double play to earn his first save of the season.

Reetz and Moritz had two hits to lead the Blue Dragons offensively.

Games 3 and 4 are scheduled to be at Williams Stadium in Garden City starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, weather permitting. The forecast for Saturday in Garden City called for cold and snow.