The St. Joseph Mustangs lengthened their win streak to four games Wednesday in Jefferson City. With a 5-3 defeat of the Renegades, St. Joe improved to 17-8 overall and 15-8 in M.I.N.K. League play.
For the third consecutive night, the Mustangs opened the scoring. After leaving two runners in scoring position in the second inning, St. Joe put two aboard with two outs in the third. Right fielder Brayden Luikart came through with a single, scoring shortstop Cole Slibowski.
The Mustangs added on in the fifth as the top of the order loaded the bases with one out. Designated hitter Ryan Callahan continued his productive week with a run-scoring single - part of a two-hit night. Over his last four games, the recent Wichita State commit has gone 9-for-17 with five runs batted in. A third Mustang run would come home on third baseman Jeremy Rader’s hit-by-pitch.
After starting pitcher Tyson Hilsabeck closed out a fifth scoreless inning, center fielder Trevor McCollum doubled home one more run in the sixth. Working with a 4-0 lead, Hilsabeck finally showed some give in the seventh inning. He allowed four of the first five Renegades to reach, forcing head coach Johnny Coy to pull the plug.
In came Jay Greco, who stranded two runners to hold the lead at 4-3. All three runs were charged to Hilsabeck, who finished with a quality start to follow up Aron Harrington’s six strong innings Tuesday in Des Moines. Like their six-game winning streak in mid-June, the Mustangs have opened this four-game heater with four consecutive quality starts.
The ninth inning left no shortage of drama as the South Division leader tried to spark a comeback. In the top half, first baseman Michael Paule doubled in a key insurance run to make it 5-3 Mustangs. Because of that hit, Jefferson City had the tying run at first base rather than at third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Neither of those runners would score, as Greco finished off 2 ⅔ scoreless relief innings and the game with a grounder to short.
The Mustangs will wrap up their road trip Thursday in Chillicothe with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. St. Joe is 0-2 this summer against the Mudcats (12-14, 11-14).