Steven Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA) and Chris Talley (Simi Valley, CA) drove in three runs apiece and six pitchers combined on a three-hitter as The Master’s College whipped Ashford of Iowa 10-1 on a cool Tuesday afternoon in Placerita Canyon.
Winning the final contest of an eight-game homestand, during which the team went 6-2, the Mustangs improved to 18-7 in 2013.
Eager to get a jump on the Saints, the Mustangs scored in their first at-bat when Jonathan Popadics (Boise, ID) hammered a lead-off triple to right-center field and scored moments later on a Karkenny groundout.
That lead lasted all of half an inning because Ashford’s Ryan Fraley led off the top of the second by blasting a Daniel Sheaffer (Mt. Airy, NC) pitch over the fence in left field, tying the game at one.
Following a quiet second inning, Karkenny and the Mustangs went to work in the third, tallying three runs to take the lead for good. Caleb Halverson (Temple City, CA) and Popadics led off the frame with consecutive singles, and then Karkenny, the club’s leading run-producer (21 rbi), drove both of them home with his club-leading 12th double of the season to left field. After Karkenny moved to third base on a groundout, Talley put the Mustangs up 4-1 with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Andrew Klausmeier (Northridge, CA) followed Sheaffer to the mound in the fourth inning and kept the three-run lead intact with two scoreless frames, eventually picking up the win (1-1) in the process.
The Mustangs went scoreless over the same span, but in the sixth they padded their lead with another run, getting it done with two outs. After Joe Riddle (Bakersfield, CA) popped out and Sam Robison (San Juan Capistrano, CA) grounded out, Ryan Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) kept the inning alive with a single. He advanced to second base on a Saint error and raced home when Spencer Toth (Asheville, NC) slapped a run-scoring single to center field.
An inning later, the Mustangs used the same two-out strategy to put the game out of reach, scoring twice more to boost the advantage to 7-1. With two gone, Talley walked and Riddle doubled him home, and then A. J. Work (Boise, ID), known more for his pitching prowess, slapped a pinch-hit single through the right side to score Talley.
The offense continued to excel in its final at-bat, capping off a big afternoon with three final runs in the eighth inning. Nalu Polancic (Vista, CA) drove in Toth, who had drawn a lead-off walk, with a base hit to left field and two batters later, Talley doubled to right-center field, plating Polancic and Halverson with the game’s final runs.
Karkenny and Talley were the big run-producers but four Mustangs (Popadics, Riddle, Shackelford, and Halverson) had two hits apiece to spark the club’s 14-hit attack.
After playing 22 of their first 25 games on the friendly confines of Reese Field, the Mustangs now hit the road for 12 of their next 13 games, starting with a three-game series at Westmont in Santa Barbara this weekend.