The St. Joseph Mustangs secured a winning road trip Tuesday evening in Carroll, Iowa. In a game that was close from start to finish, St. Joe outlasted the Carroll Merchants 5-4 in 10 innings, snapping their 6-0 start to the season. The Mustangs now hold a 4-1 overall record and a 3-1 mark in M.I.N.K. League play.
Right-handed pitcher Tanner Schmidt made the Mustangs’ start, allowing an earned run in the second and an unearned run in the third. He finished the evening with six strikeouts in four one-hit innings.
Schmidt gave way to Camden Lutz, another right-hander, for his summer debut. Lutz cruised through four more innings of work, allowing just two baserunners and punching out four.
Meanwhile, for the second consecutive night, St. Joe did not score over the game’s first seven innings. But the eighth frame saw the Mustang bats come alive. After a double play emptied the bases with two outs, center fielder Trevor McCollum and left fielder Easton Bruce hit back-to-back singles. Right fielder Ike Book then scorched a double inside the right-field line, driving in a run. When Carroll tried to throw him out at second, the ball skipped into left field, allowing the tying run to score.
The next hitter, third baseman Mason Holton, laced a single to left-center field. With that hit, he drove in the go-ahead run and retied the team lead with 8 RBI on the season. Holton later reached third, coming around to score on an untimely Carroll balk.
Leading 4-2, St. Joe turned to right-hander Jaren Guck for a save situation in the ninth. But the Merchants battled back, evening the score on a two-out, two-run single up the middle. For the first time in 2023, the Mustangs had an extra-inning game on their hands.
To start the tenth, Bruce and Book doubled to place two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Then, yet another Carroll balk scored Bruce to put St. Joe ahead 5-4.
Though a double play limited the Mustangs’ 10th-inning damage to one, right-hander Jack Wells shot down any Merchant momentum. He retired the side in order, picking up the win and sending the Mustangs on a happy bus ride home.
The Mustangs now return to Phil Welch Stadium for a four-game homestand. It begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday with the Chillicothe Mudcats visiting.