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Mustangs Strike Early in Record-Breaking Opening Night Win

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

In front of 4,012 fans - a Phil Welch Stadium Opening Night attendance record - the St. Joseph Mustangs defeated Mid-Plains League foe Baldwin City 11-4. Mustangs starting pitcher Tyson Hilsabeck earned the win, tossing five innings with three earned runs and seven strikeouts. On the flip side, St. Joe scored all 11 runs in the game’s first three innings. Third baseman Mason Holton went 3-for-4 with four RBI, while right fielder Aron Harrington plated three runs on two hits. Shortstop Cole Slibowski and center fielder Trevor McCollum also each walked three times, scoring multiple runs.

The Blues scored the opening run on a two-out, first-inning Hilsabeck throwing error, but St. Joe fired back immediately. Three of the first four Mustang hitters walked, loading the bases for Holton. He ripped a two-run double to right that turned the score around. Two batters later, Harrington brought home a pair with a single to right. By the first inning’s end, the Mustangs had taken a 4-1 lead, bringing all nine hitters to the dish.

In the second, Baldwin City pulled back within one. However, the Mustangs again offered up an answer. Two walks and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bags for Holton, who again delivered with an RBI single. Though the next two St. Joe hitters struck out, the Mustangs maintained their multi-run advantage at 5-3 through two frames.

The third inning saw momentum swing entirely toward the first base dugout. In the top half, Hilsabeck navigated a leadoff double, receiving some help when catcher Oscar Pegg cut down a would-be base-stealer. The Mustangs then promptly pulled out their hitting shoes for the bottom of the frame. After McCollum worked an RBI walk, designated hitter Ike Book ripped a two-run double to the right-field wall. Then, on the heels of a Holton sacrifice fly, left fielder Easton Bruce tagged an RBI double to the right-center gap. Finally, Harrington pulled an RBI single to right, wrapping up a six-run inning that featured ten batters.

Ahead 11-3, St. Joe put the remainder of the game on cruise control. Baldwin City scratched a run across in the fifth, but that was all for the visitors. Mustang relievers Jaren Guck and Ryker Curry combined to toss four shutout innings with seven punchouts after Hilsabeck departed. Curry struck out three in the ninth to seal the seven-run victory.

The Mustangs will return to the diamond Friday night for another non-M.I.N.K League contest. They will host the KC Monarchs at 7 p.m.

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