MUSCATINE, Iowa — This isn't the way Muscatine Community College baseball coach Dave Barb wanted it to end.
The way the Cardinals finished their final four-game home stand in the program's history on Sunday against Iowa Western left a sour taste for MCC heading into postseason play later this week.
After MCC battled strong pitching in narrow losses on Saturday, the Cardinals weren't as sharp on defense on Sunday and the Reivers pounded away at MCC for a Sunday sweep at Tom Bruner Field.
Iowa Western (44-12, 20-4 ICCAC) won 19-2 in the opener and 14-0 in Game 2, with both wins coming in five innings each.
"I hate to say this, but it was a very poor effort on our part," Barb said. "I'm embarrassed we played so poorly in what will be the last home game for the foreseeable future for MCC."
Zach Hanna was a combined 5 for 6 at the plate with nine runs batted in, three doubles and a two-run homerun in Game 1 to lead the Reivers. As a team, Iowa Western racked up 33 runs on 27 hits and took advantage of eight MCC errors, with seven of those miscues coming in Game 2, to power past the Cardinals.
MCC (23-31, 5-19) got quality innings from Nick Hirst and Anthony Cosme on Saturday, with Hirst losing a 5-0 decision and Cosme dropping a 2-1 loss in Saturday's nightcap, but the Barb emptied the bullpen on Sunday with seven different pitchers taking the mound.
"We left too many balls in the zone," Barb said of his team's pitching and adding with regard to his team's defense, "if we play a clean ballgame, who knows what the score is, ... but we can't win playing that kind of defense."
Iowa Western used its fair share of pitchers as well, but only allowed three hits each in Games 1 and 2 on Sunday after holding the Cardinals to four total hits on Saturday.
Raul Padilla had an RBI double in the second inning of Game 1 and Tyler Broders added an RBI single in the fourth inning to round out MCC's scoring on Sunday.
"We've got a lot of quality pitching, a lot of depth there," Iowa Western coach Marc Rardin said. "And we had some good [at bats] today and I was real happy with our guys."
Iowa Western will play Muscatine again in a first-round Region XI tournament game on Friday at Indian Hills Community College.
Barb noted that his team seems to play better on the road, but they'll need more than better to knock off the Reivers, currently ranked No. 12 in NJCAA Division I.
"We better strap it on and get ready to play our they'll kick our butts," Barb said.
With the last MCC home game at Tom Bruner Field played, Barb lamented the baseball program's end as a huge negative, first and foremost, for the freshmen that entered the program expecting to play two years of baseball in Muscatine.
"The kids are the ones that end up screwed," Barb said. "I've dealt with the fact that we're done, ... but I hope the kids would figure some things out and we can maybe go out with a flurry."