The Master’s University baseball team won both games of Saturday’s doubleheader against the No. 7 Hope International Royals to win the three-game series.
The Mustangs (17-9, 5-7 GSAC), receiving votes for the NAIA Top 25, needed an extra inning to win the first game 2-1, then came from behind in game two to win it 11-9.
Game one was a classic pitchers dual, pitting the Mustangs Ian Mortensen against the reigning GSAC Pitcher of the Year, Hector Garcia. Mortensen went 8.0 innings, allowing just one earned run on nine hits and striking out two. Garcia lasted 6.0 innings, giving up an earned run on five hits with seven strikeouts.
The Master’s were the first to strike when Ryan Mathiesen led off the bottom of the second inning with a solo shot to left field. It was his third home run of the year.
After getting their run in the sixth inning, Mortensen pitched himself out of a jam by getting an inning-ending double play to keep the game tied at 1-1. It was the third double play of the game the Mustangs’ defense provided Mortensen.
“(Mortensen) made quality pitches in key situations,” said TMU head coach Monte Brooks . “He’s had good innings, but he was consistent (today). He was very conscientious of what to throw and when to throw it. In each outing, he is gaining more and more understanding of what is effective and executing it.”
In the bottom of the tenth inning, Will Batz reached on a fielder’s choice, then stole second. When Austin Young singled to center, Batz didn’t hesitate, beating the throw to the plate and the Mustangs were celebrating the 2-1 win.
“Austin has been a consistent hitter all year,” Brooks said. “He came up big when he needed to.”
The second game had much more offense, with both teams banging out ten hits, but it was The Master’s getting the 11-9 win.
The Royals came out of the gate blazing. A three-run home run in the top of the first gave HIU a 3-0 lead.
The Mustangs responded immediately, scoring three in the bottom of the first with two base hits, an error that scored Batz, a bases-loaded walk byTy Beckto score Young, and a wild pitch that scored Evan Banks.
But Hope scored one in the third and two in the fourth to take a 6-3 lead. A Cason Brownell single scored Owen Payn in the bottom of the fourth but HIU responded with another run in the top of the fifth to make it 7-4.
That’s when the Mustangs came back. TMU scored seven in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by a 3-run home run by Batz, to give the Mustangs an 11-7 lead.
The Royals would score two more in the sixth but The Master’s would hold on for the 11-9 seven-inning win.
“Will (Batz) was an impact in both games,” Brooks said. “He beat out the double play, stole a base and got the winning run in the first game, and then he got the big hit with the jack in the second game. It was just neat to see Will have that kind of success late in games.”
Being strong mentally enabled the Mustangs to come back in both games.
“These guys know how important it is to just go pitch-by-pitch-by-pitch and be really simplistic,” Brooks said. “The coaching staff emphasizes it over and over, the seniors are emphasizing it, and (we are) understanding that we can’t let the past effect us and we can’t worry about the future. We are trying to be in the moment to execute. With that objective, that puts us in more of a quiet mindset.”
The Master’s will be on the road for their next four games, starting with a non-conference game against the Westcliff Warriors on Tuesday in Irvine, Calif. Next weekend, the Mustangs will travel Chula Vista, to play San Diego Christian. The three-game series will be played at the Southwestern College baseball field beginning Friday at 2 p.m.
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