Mustangs split doubleheader with Generals

06/07/2019 7:56 AM -

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The St. Joseph Mustangs baseball club dropped its first game of the 2019 season to the Ozark Generals during game one of a double-header, 1-0. The Mustangs returned the favor during game two, edging out the Generals, 8-4.

Entering the contest, the Mustangs (8-1, 6-0 MINK) control first place in the north division of the MINK baseball conference.

Game 1

The Generals wasted no time scoring, as they crossed one run off Mustangs’ starting pitcher Mahlyk Davis in the top of the first inning. This run was the only run scored by both squads during the seven-inning outing.

The Mustangs were held to just three hits and six total base runners throughout the contest. The Mustangs offense was led by infielder Jack Wagner, who notched two hits (two singles) on four plate appearances while recording one strikeout.

On the mound for St. Joseph, Davis went six full innings pitched, allowing one run (one earned) on four hits and striking out six batters. Relief pitcher, Ryan Scharf, took care of business in the top of the seventh, forcing Ozark into a one-two-three inning. In the Mustangs final opportunity to score, they came up just short and received the game one loss.

“We got a lot of young guys on this team, a lot of freshman,” manager Johnny Coy said. “I could tell they were tired and fatigued at the plate, but if they want to play pro-ball, this is the type of lifestyle they’re going to have to live and learn how to adjust to it.”

Game 2

Like the first game, Ozark plated one run in the top of the first and took an early lead over St. Joseph, 1-0. The Mustang offense ended their scoring drought by capitalizing on miscues by the Generals’ starting pitcher, Bryce Slavens, who walked four batters during the home half of the first and allowing St. Joe to score two runs off errors committed.

After forcing Ozark into a scoreless second inning, St. Joseph tacked on another run to increase its lead to 3-1. With one out, infielder Jackson Dierenfeldt drew a walk to give the Mustangs their first base runner of inning. Dierenfeldt showed his speed on the base paths and advanced to second on a successful stolen base. After recording the second out of the inning, catcher Jordan Maxson walked and advanced to second on a balk by Slavens. With runners on second and third, designated hitter Kyle Koerper roped a ball done the first base line but was called out while trying to extend the hit into a double. Koerper scored Dierenfeldt on the hit.

The Mustang offense heated up again in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring three runs on three hits while leaving just one stranded. Dierenfeldt (single), Holden (single) and Wagner (double) were credited with the base-knocks during the inning. St. Joe stretched its lead to 6-1 over Ozark heading into the final three innings of play.

In the top of the fifth, the Generals’ inched one run closer by crossing a runner on a wild pitch and bringing the score to 6-2. As they have been perfecting for much of the second game, the Mustangs have answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the fifth. After reaching base on a lead-off walk, infielder Drew Beazley stole second to put himself in scoring position. On the next at-bat, catcher Dylan Ketch singled to left-center field, scoring Beazley, and advancing to second on a fielding error by the Ozark defense. St. Joe scored one run on one hit and left two on base to increase its lead to 7-2.

After forcing the Generals into a one-two-three sixth inning, the Mustang didn’t let off the gas pedal. Maxson led off the inning by reaching base on an pitching error and was advanced to second on a wild pitch. Keorper slapped another single to left field and successfully advanced Maxson to third. Infielder Terrence Spurlin stepped into the box and hit a deep, sacrifice fly to left, scoring Maxson. An insurance run for St. Joe upped its lead to six runs over Ozark heading into the final inning of play.

In the top of the seventh, Ozark quickly loaded the bases, forcing starter Colton Kenagy into jam. The Generals successfully score a run, bringing the score to 8-4. With the bases still juiced and two outs recorded, outfielder Lucas Riddick stepped up to the plate with a chance to tie the ball game with a deep ball. With an 0-2 count, Riddick swings on a fastball and sends one that clears the fence just inches outside the field of play. On the next pitch, Kenagy paints the corner and strikes Riddick out to win it for the Mustangs, 8-4.

Kenagy threw a complete seven innings of work, allowing four runs on two hits and striking out a season-high, 11 strikeouts. St. Joe is off to an 8-1 start to the season and has no plans of slowing down.

“All we are going to do is keep having fun,” Coy said. “We got a couple more guys coming in within the next couple days which is going to help us to give guys some rest and keep us, as a team, fresh.”

The Mustangs will be back in action tomorrow night for the final game of the three-game stint with the Generals. Come join us at Phil Welch for “Friday Night Lites” with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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