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Mustangs trade games with Merchants

The St Joe Mustangs had an outstanding week with limited need for improvement over the road trip. This stopped as the Mustangs went against the most significant threat they faced in the 2024 season, the Carroll Merchants.

The Mustangs only have two losses, and they came from the Merchants in back-to-back games in the third week of play. The Mustangs hope to get one over on the Merchants as they play them in back-to-back games.

The first game was yesterday in an away game at Merchant Park that had starting pitcher Bronco Witt on the mound for the Mustangs.

Witt pitched a clean slate for the first three innings, giving up two walks and a single in the first third.

After giving up a walk, Witt was punished, as a Merchant hit a two-run home run to put the Merchants ahead in the fourth 0-2.

In the fifth, first baseman Jayden Little singled, and right fielder Logan Miller reached on a fielder's choice. Second baseman Cason Schmidt loaded the bases with a single.

Designated hitter Frank Gall scores Little after grounding out to the Merchants' first baseman, tying the game at 1-2.

Witt kept the Merchant's offense guessing with the next two innings, swinging blanks as he was putting in work, and the Mustang's defense to keep the Merchant's offense stifled in the fifth and sixth innings.

In the seventh, the Mustangs awed after center fielder Trevor McCollum walked and stole second. Third baseman Carson Schrack played his part as he singled and put McCollum in scoring position.

Shortstop Mason Holton showed out with a two-RBI single that scored McCollum and Schrack, putting the Mustangs ahead in a 3-2 ballgame.

In the eighth inning, a Merchant walked and got to third after stealing second and advancing on a groundout. He was driven home after a game-tying single tied the game at 3.

In the ninth, McCollum & Schrack walked and advanced into scoring position after a Holton groundout. McCollum scored off a wild pitch, and the game would be called due to lightning.

The matchup resumed at 6:00 p.m. at Phil Welch Stadium. Once the game started, Schrack scored on another wild pitch to put the Mustangs ahead 5-3.

Witt sat out the next inning to have closer Tim Teixeira save the game; he faced four batters and recorded another win for the Mustangs.

Today's game was a slugfest as both sides combined had 26 runs scored!

The scoring started early as starting pitcher Andrew Clark got into a bases-loaded situation with no outs. Clark walked in a Merchant run; after the walk, a Merchant sacrifice fly scored another run to let the Merchants lead 0-2.

In the bottom of the first, right fielder Darius Freeman launched a solo home run into the party deck tarp for a thunderous cry to trail 1-2.

In the second, Clark had bases loaded with two outs and walked in another Merchant run to extend the Merchant lead 1-3.

The third was rough for the Mustangs as singles errors and walks had put the Merchant ahead 9-1.

The Mustangs didn't go down to the bottom of the third, with McCollum walking and stealing second. Left fielder Noah Bodenhaus walked to have runners on first and second.

Freeman scores more runs, as an RBI single scores McCollum to trail 2-9. Bodenhaus scores on a wild pitch to trail 3-9. With Freeman on third, first baseman Jeter Mauzey singles to score Freeman to trail 4-9. Holton's double scores Mauzey to trail 5-9.

Relief pitcher Jace Johnson controls the damage in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, giving up two hits.

The sixth inning proved successful for the Mustangs. Holton started the offense with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Designated hitter Easton Bruce singles and scores Holton trailing 6-9. Bruce advanced to third on a wild pitch and was joined by McCollum on a walk, putting runners on corners. Second baseman Truman Bodenhaus grounds out to third base, allowing Bruce to score and trail 7-9. N. Bodenhaus singles to drive in McCollum to trail 8-9.

Johnson keeps the Merchants in line during the seventh, giving up one hit.

The bases were loaded in the bottom of the seventh: Bruce at first, Holton at second, and Schrack at third. Schrack ties the game at nine after scoring on a wild pitch. McCollum comes in clutch again after he singles to drive in Bruce and Holton to lead for the first time at 11-9.

The Merchants were on the ropes with two outs as a Merchant single with one run scoring; another runner came from third as he barrelled home, slamming into catcher Dom Felix. Felix couldn't brace for the impact and lost the ball to tie the game at 11.

Relief pitcher Michael Infranca let Johnson sit after an outstanding 5.2 innings.

The Mustangs took the Merchant to extra innings, where the Mustangs came within one hit of ending the game but couldn't find the chance.

The Merchants scored four runs in the top of the eleventh, leading in the eleventh 11-15.

The Merchants walked away with a victory after a double play and notched the third loss in the Mustangs record of 23-3.

The next Mustangs game will be an away game against the Chillicothe Mudcats at Shaffer Park at 7:05 p.m.

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