In the first rubber game of the season, the St. Joseph Mustangs came through in a big way Friday night thanks to an explosive offensive display to ensure a series victory.
St. Joseph defended its home field at Phil Welch Stadium and downed the Ozark Generals 12-7. The Mustangs (8-1, 7-1 MINK) scored at least one run in all six innings they batted in.
One of the main sources of offense for the Mustangs was catcher Jordan Maxson, as he went 3-for-4 with a walk, three runs scored and two RBIs. Maxson tripled in the first and scored on a base hit by first baseman Kris Koerper to kick things off for the Mustangs.
The Mustangs scored two more thanks to sacrifice flies by Logan Rycraft and Jackson Dierenfeldt. Drew Beazely kept the momentum going in the third inning when he took a 1-1 count over the left field fence for a solo homer.
Mustangs pitcher Drake Kanallakan pitched 3 2/3 innings until an apparent injury after a he attempted a defensive play. Kanallakan threw struck out two and gave up one earned on two hits.
Ronnie Wigginton came onto the mound in relief of the injured Kanallakan. The Generals (2-3) finally broke up the shutout in the when Andrew Paten doubled in a run in the top of the fourth.
Maxson got back to work in the fifth inning with a base hit up the middle that made the game 5-1. Third baseman Terrance Spurlin had himself a night as well going 2-4 with four RBIs. Spurlin followed Maxson up with a two-run double to right-center field.
The Generals wouldn’t go away quietly, however. Tanner Maskey drove in a run with a base hit but was thrown out when he tried to stretch it to a double. Shortly after, Maxson doubled to left field and drove in two more runs. Maxson was a homer shy of the cycle, but he flew out to center field in his final at bat.
Spurlin provided more damage in the fifth inning when he drove in two more runs with a slap single to right field. Dierenfeldt hit one back up the middle in the sixth to make it a 12-2 game.
Down to potentially their finally inning due to the new MINK League run rule, the Generals kept themselves in the game with a Jeffre Castillo RBI double. Ozark tacked on three more runs after a three-run home run by Lucas Riddick. The Mustangs failed to score for the first time all night in their half of the seventh and now had a 12-6 lead.
Maskey made things closer in the top of the eighth with an RBI double. Nevertheless, pitcher Austin Kleinlein and the Mustangs slammed the door shut on any comeback attempt as Paten struck out looking with runners at the corners. Paten struck out four times with three of them being called strikes.
The Mustangs close out their home stand at 7 p.m. tonight against the Nevada Griffons at Phil Welch Stadium.