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Playoff-Bound Mustangs Shut Out and Swept by Clarinda

After clinching a playoff berth by virtue of Carroll’s loss Tuesday, the St. Joseph Mustangs were blanked by the Clarinda A’s Wednesday. Emerging with a 1-0 victory, the A’s swept the two-game series and improved to 5-2 against St. Joe this summer. Now 28-15 overall and 26-14 in league play this summer, the Mustangs lead Clarinda by a game and a half in the North Division.

Right-hander Andrew Clark put St. Joe in a favorable position with his work on the mound. He twirled six innings of one-run baseball before Ryker Curry shut out Clarinda over two innings of relief. That one run, which crossed home on a fifth-inning double, made all the difference.

Offensively, the Mustangs went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and failed to record a single hit with a man on base. Their best opportunities came in the second, fifth, seventh and eighth innings.

In the second, right fielder Trevor McCollum singled with two outs, later reaching third on an error and wild pitch. However, a strikeout left him 90 feet away from scoring the game’s first run. An inning later, Clarinda loaded the bases with two outs, but Clark dealt a key strikeout to keep the battle scoreless.

Shortstop Mason Holton led off the fifth with St. Joe’s only extra-base hit of the night. But his double proved inconsequential as three consecutive flyouts washed the half-inning away quietly. The A’s would come up with the night’s lone run in the bottom of that fifth inning.

The seventh inning opened with McCollum wearing a pitch and advancing to second on a groundout. Even after an intentional walk put the go-ahead run on with two outs, a strikeout kept the Mustangs off the board. Another hit-by-pitch came with one out in the eighth, but St. Joe could not make anything more of it.

Needing a strong finish to lock up the division’s number-one seed, the Mustangs will face the only other team with a winning record against them this season. The Chillicothe Mudcats, 2-3 against St. Joe, will host the Mustangs Thursday at 7:05 p.m. before traveling to Phil Welch Stadium Friday.

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