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Four-Run Seventh Pushes Mustangs Past Nevada in M.I.N.K. League Opener

The St. Joseph Mustangs opened up their M.I.N.K. League schedule with a 5-2, come-from-behind win Saturday night. After trailing the Nevada Griffons for the game’s first six innings, the Mustangs scored four runs in the seventh inning to take the lead.

On Northwest Missouri State University Night, Bearcat pitcher Andrew Clark made the start for St. Joe. His first inning was bumpy, as he put the first two Griffons aboard before yielding a two-run single with one out.

Nevada nearly bolstered the lead in the second, but Mustangs left fielder Easton Bruce made his first of two impressive defensive plays. On a two-out single, he threw out a baserunner at home, keeping St. Joe within two.

After that, Clark settled in nicely, holding Nevada scoreless over the next five frames. He finished his first start of the summer with six innings of two-run baseball.

But his counterpart, Nevada starting pitcher Gage Hayes, refused to allow him any run support. With the help of four Mustang outs on the basepaths, he tossed five scoreless innings. In the sixth, St. Joe broke through on a run-scoring single by third baseman Mason Holton.

Down only a run, the Mustangs’ offense mounted a rally in the seventh. With nobody out, Catcher Ben Click doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Then, second baseman Noah Bodenhausen evened the score with a sacrifice fly. As their lineup card flipped over, the Mustangs added on. First baseman Michael Paule was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, giving St. Joe the lead. The next batter, Mason Holton, ripped a two-run double to left-center, bringing his season RBI count to seven through two games.

Working with a 5-2 lead, reliever Brandon Stone shut the door in his Mustangs debut. He stranded five runners across the final three innings, striking out six. Ending the game with a swinging strikeout, Stone picked up the win.

The Mustangs and Griffons will square off again Sunday in Nevada. After that, St. Joe will play two more road games before returning to Phil Welch Stadium on Wednesday.

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