An early deficit from nonconference opponent Kansas City Monarchs gave the St. Joseph Mustangs their fourth loss of the season.
The Monarchs (6-1) defeated the Mustangs (12-5, 11-4) 6-4 in the Thursday evening matchup.
Mustangs right-hander Michael Mathews struggled off the bat.
The Salve Regina University freshman started the game with three-straight walks and then a single toward left field scored two Monarchs.
Mathews bounced back in the next two innings, striking out three and allowing zero runs.
The offense couldn’t get anything rolling against KC’s Jonathan Krysa. The starter pitched eight full innings, not walking any and striking out 10. He recorded the win for the Monarchs.
Mathews — despite having a strong two full innings — struggled to start the fourth inning. He struck out one to start the inning but walked three to load the bases and then hit the next batter on his second pitch to give the Monarchs a third run.
Austin Kleinlein came in to relieve the starter after 3.1 innings pitched and eight walks.
Mathews was still responsible for the three runners walked onto base, and one more runner scored before the inning ended. Mathews recorded the loss for the Mustangs after pitching 87 pitches, 36 of which were strikes.
The Mustangs fought back on offense but couldn’t get enough going to come back. Derek Hussey got on base off an error and eventually scored on a single from Logan Rycroft in the second inning.
Another run for St. Joseph scored in the fifth, but Kansas City wouldn’t quit and scored two more in the top of the sixth.
Dawson Smith came in to close out the game, sending the Monarchs down 1-2-3 in each of the last two innings.
The Mustangs attempted a comeback in the bottom of the eighth, scoring two with two outs to cut KC’s lead down to 6-4.
KC’s closer came in for the final inning to finish off the Mustangs who went 1-2-3. The scoreless ninth inning ended the game and gave the Mustangs their fourth loss of the season.
The Mustangs left nine on base and had three errors in the field. Between the three pitchers, the Mustangs struck out eight compared to the Monarchs’ 12 strikeouts.
The Mustangs return to Phil Welch Stadium today at 7 p.m. for their alumni game and then again on Saturday to play the Nevada Griffons.