The St. Joseph Mustangs are now one win away from winning the MINK League Championship after defeating the Ozark Generals 3-1 in Game 1 in Springfield, Missouri on Thursday night.
The Mustangs and Generals battled in a pitchers duel as runs were hard to come by. The Generals scored the first run in this best of three Championship series in the bottom of the second inning.
After Mustangs starter Mack Stephenson loaded the bases with one out, Generals catcher Ashton Smith grounded into a fielder choice that scored a run and gave the Generals a 1-0 lead.
The lead was short lived, as the Mustangs responded in the top of third. With one out, Mustangs catcher JP Tighe singled followed by a Dylan Ketch double that allowed Tighe to move to third. A wild pitch by Generals starter Tyson Campbell allowed Tighe to score, tying the game at 1-1.
The biggest hit of the game came in the top of the fourth.
With one on and one out, Mustangs Terrance Spurlin hit a two-run home run to give the Mustangs a 3-1 lead. That would be all the offense the Mustangs would need.
Stephenson was able to get the win after navigating through trouble for most of the night.
Stephenson allowed at least one base runner in five of his six innings pitched, pitching his way out of a few jams and only allowed one run.
Stephenson’s final line was six innings pitched, six hits, one run, and five strikeouts.
Stephenson was relieved by Luke Anderson, who pitched the final three innings. Anderson was unhittable, striking out seven without any hits, slamming the door on the Generals and earning the save.
Campbell pitched well for the Generals in the loss. Campbell pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on eight hits and striking out 13.
The Mustangs travel back to St. Joseph as they look to win the Championship tonight at Phil Welch Stadium.