The St. Joseph Mustangs enjoyed an outburst of offense Friday evening against the Chillicothe Mudcats. Swinging their way to a 16-4 beatdown in seven innings, the Mustangs set a season high in runs and improved to 26-13 overall and 24-12 in M.I.N.K. League play.
St. Joseph starting pitcher Michael Infranca allowed four runs on eight hits in his four innings of work, but the offense backed him with all kinds of early support. In the first inning, second baseman Noah Bodenhausen took the first of his three walks on the night before scoring on a wild pitch. Center fielder Brayden Luikart would also score on an errant offering, taking the lead for the Mustangs.
After Chillicothe tied the game back up at two, the Mustangs put a crooked number on the board in the second. With one out and the bases juiced, Luikart pulled a single into right field, scoring two. He advanced to second on the throw, setting up first baseman Ryan Callahan with two men in scoring position. Per usual, Callahan brought them home, singling back up the middle to make it 6-2.
The third inning was quiet, but Chillicothe cut the deficit in half with two RBI doubles in the fourth. St. Joe answered right back, though, as catcher Ben Click singled with two outs and the bases empty. Shortstop Mason Holton scored him on a rocketed double to center field, moving the Mustangs into a 7-4 lead.
After right-hander Ryker Curry dealt a scoreless fifth, his first of three shutout innings of relief, the Mustang bats took over the game. Designated hitter Jayden Little continued his recent hot streak with a run-scoring double. He and Bodenhausen then executed a double steal, allowing Luikart to score them both on a double.
Later on, with two outs and the Mustangs ahead 12-4, Little entered the batter’s box again with the bases loaded. One swing away from the inning of his career, he touched off a bases-clearing double to right-center, putting St. Joe ahead 15-4. As the eight-run fifth inning wrapped up, Little joined Luikart, his high school teammate at St. Joseph Lafayette, in the four-RBI club for the night.
Ryan Callahan would join them in the sixth, following up Luikart’s leadoff triple with a sacrifice fly to right field. In 19 games, the Wichita State commit has driven in 22 runs. That pace would lead the league had Callahan opened the summer season on schedule.
The Mustangs will attempt an encore Saturday as the Des Moines Peak Prospects visit for a 7 p.m. first pitch. On Tuesday, St. Joe dominated Des Moines in an away doubleheader, outscoring the Prospects 16-2.