Nine days after sweeping Simpson in a three-game series in Northern California, The Master’s College repeated part of that Monday afternoon, taking another doubleheader from the Red Hawks 16-1 and 7-2 on Reese Field.
Posting season-highs for runs and hits (21) in the first game, and methodically whipping the Red Hawks in the nightcap, the Mustangs improved to 8-0 overall.
The Red Hawks drew first blood in the opener, using a hit batsman, a stolen base, a ground-out, and a single to nick Mustang starter Conner Menez (Hollister, CA) for a run in the top of the first.
Answering immediately, the Mustangs evened thing up in the bottom of the inning when Steve Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA) singled through the left side, advanced to second base on a passed ball, and trotted home on Joe Riddle’s (Bakersfield, CA) double down the right field line.
That was the calm before the storm. After Menez retired the Red Hawks in order in the second, the Mustangs took the lead for good in the last of the frame when Anthony Leal (San Juan Capistrano, CA) laced a lead-off triple to center field and scored an out later on Josh Brown’s (Valencia, CA) sacrifice fly to the same area.
Two innings later, they blew the game open, sending 13 batters to the plate en route to seven runs on eight hits and a 9-1 lead. Leal led off with a home run down the right field line, his second roundtripper of the season. Five of his teammates joined the rbi parade in the inning, including Ryan Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) whose two-run double made it an 8-1 game.
That gave Menez plenty of runs to work with, although the southpaw didn’t really need much of a cushion. In a stretch from the first through the fifth innings, he retired 11 Red Hawks in a row and finished his first collegiate start and win with a two-hit, four-strikeout performance over five innings.
Menez may have been done at that point, but the Mustang offense wasn’t. In the sixth, they scored four more times on a like of number of hits with Leal driving in another run with a single, Ethan Stine (Apple Valley, CA) duplicating that, Collin Nyehuis (Vista, CA) bringing another run home with a sacrifice fly, and Stine capping the scoring by crossing home plate on a wild pitch.
Meanwhile, the parade of freshman arms to the mound continued to impress. Aaron Alexander (Concord, CA) took over in the sixth inning and retired all six batters he faced in a sparkling two innings of work, highlighted by a pair of strikeouts in the seventh.
Hunter Totemeier (Santa Ynez, CA) went to the hill in the eighth and after giving up a leadoff single, he set down the final six Red Hawk batters, two of those on strikes.
The Mustangs continued to add to their lead in the seventh when Riddle led off with a homer to right field and then an inning later, Josh Swartz (Overland Park, KS) doubled in the final two runs of the game.
Leal led the first-game onslaught, collecting a career-high four hits, Karkenny and Riddle had three apiece, and Sam Robison (San Juan Capistrano, CA) and Spencer Toth (Asheville, NC) added two more each.
Runs were harder to come by in the nightcap but the Mustangs rallied and scored four late runs to turn it into a runaway.
After a scoreless first inning, the RedHawks dinged Mustang starter Justyn Lee (Woodland Hills, CA) for two runs in the top of the second. The Mustangs retaliated in the bottom of the inning, halving the deficit on a Tyler Krahn (Abbotsford, BC, Canada) leadoff triple and a Leal sacrifice fly.
An inning later, the Mustangs caught and passed the Red Hawks, using a Karkenny game-tying, rbi double and a Shackelford infield single to take a 3-2 lead.
Following Lee’s struggles, Jason Karkenny took over in the fourth and kept the Red Hawks off the scoreboard with two innings of one-hit relief.
His teammates rewarded him for that, striking for a run in the fourth and Leal was the instigator once again. He laced a leadoff double to right-center field and scored two outs later when Steve Karkenny walked with the bases loaded.
Two innings later, the Mustangs put the game away, scoring three more runs on three hits in the sixth. Riddle plated the first run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, Stine raced home on a Red Hawk error, and Shackelford plated Jon Popadics (Boise, ID) with the day’s final run on a two-out single that gave the Mustangs a 7-2 advantage.
Riddle, making a rare appearance on the mound, wrapped up another sterling pitching performance by the Mustangs, tossing two innings of perfect ball and preserving Jason Karkenny’s first collegiate win with his first-ever save.
Popadics and Shackelford led the squad’s 10-hit attack with two hits apiece.
After playing five games in four days, the Mustangs get a little rest before resuming GSAC play this weekend, traveling to El Cajon to take on No. 22 San Diego Christian in a three-game series that starts on Friday.