PARK HILLS — The offense resumed its steady production as the Mineral Area baseball team built sizable leads against Rend Lake on Tuesday.
Left-handed pitcher Jake Triulzi made the first one hold quite convincingly, and the Cardinals later received defensive gems in the outfield to help sweep their first home doubleheader this season.
Mineral Area capitalized on five errors from the Warriors to prevail 10-0 in the opener, then pushed its overall record back above the .500 mark with an 8-5 triumph in game 2.
Glorious weather greeted MAC (9-8) after a 12-day hiatus in competition. Snow had postponed three separate doubleheaders, including a key 4-game series with North Central that was supposed to open Region 16 play.
Sophomore catcher Connor Davault entered the action with a team-leading .426 batting average, and reached base three times during each contest. He finished 3-for-4 with a double in the tighter second meeting.
The first inning set a precedent for things to come in game 1, starting with a perfect top half from Triulzi (1-0), who retired 15 of his 18 batters faced with four strikeouts and two hits allowed.
Mineral Area responded with three unearned runs against Evan Chapman as three of the first four batters reached safely on miscues along the infield.
Charlie Palmer followed a booted sacrifice by Cory Lubinski with another bunt past the mound, and two runners scored when a potential double play was misplayed at shortstop.
Hunter Leeper hooked a deep 2-run double in the third inning, and two more tallies in the fourth gave Mineral Area a 7-0 advantage.
Triulzi escaped his toughest test with back-to-back strikeouts after the first two men reached safely in the second inning, then worked around a leadoff double by Landon Thomas in the fourth.
Jake Moore threw a scoreless sixth in relief, and the Cardinals invoked the 10-run rule when Logan Bradley hammered a bases-clearing double to finish with four RBI.
Corey Huskey finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored, and Lubinski crossed the plate three times in the victory.
Justin Murphy (2-2) compiled eight strikeouts to help negate four walks in game 2, and was spotted a 4-run margin after Mineral Area netted six on five hits during the third inning.
Leeper capped the big rally with a 3-RBI double after Bradley singled and Dakota Glore walked with two outs. A sacrifice fly from Cody Heisserer made the score 7-2 in the fifth.
Rend Lake (3-9) jumped ahead on a 2-run single by Darius Box after Murphy nearly battled around consecutive 1-out walks in the first inning. The Warriors offered an even greater threat in the sixth.
Zack Jones and A.J. Hummel, both of whom went 2-for-4 at the plate, lined singles to spark the comeback bid. J.T. Arnemann punched an RBI hit through the left side to end Murphy’s outing.
Mauricio Junco, a catcher on last year’s MAC squad, earned his first save with two innings of relief after dodging some anxious moments.
Eli Miller lifted a sacrifice fly and Luke Izold singled to bring Rend Lake within 7-5, but Palmer sprinted toward the center-field fence for a catch that prevented the tying runs from scoring.
The Warriors stranded two more runners in the seventh. Heisserer made a nice stop at first base to retire a lead runner, and Bradley delivered a diving grab in shallow right field for the second out.
Davault had doubled and scored an insurance run in bottom half of the sixth. Glore reached three times overall and Brad Cuyos had a key single for the Cardinals, who will host Lindenwood-Belleville on Thursday.
Rend Lake 000 000 - 0 3 5
Mineral Area 302 203 - 10 8 0
W - Jake Triulzi 5ip 0r 0er 2h 4k 1bb.
L - Evan Chapman 3ip 7r 2er 6h 1k 0bb.
Rend Lake - Darius Box 1-2, Landon Thomas 1-3, Alex Wittenauer 1-3. 2b - Thomas.
Mineral Area - Corey Huskey 2-2, Connor Davault 1-2, Cory Lubinski 1-2, Charlie Palmer 1-3, Dakota Glore 1-3, Hunter Leeper 1-3, Logan Bradley 1-4. 2b - Huskey, Bradley, Leeper.
Rend Lake 200 003 0 - 5 10 3
Mineral Area 006 011 x - 8 8 1
W - Justin Murphy 5ip 5r 5er 8h 8k 4bb.
L - Dylan Dunn 4ip 6r 6er 6h 3k 1bb.
SV - Mauricio Junco 2ip 0r 0er 2h 1k 0bb.
Rend Lake - Zack Jones 2-4, A.J. Hummel 2-4, Luke Izold 1-3, Will Fisher 1-3, Landon Thomas 1-3, Darius Box 1-3, Aaron Lohman 1-3, J.T. Arnemann 1-4.
Mineral Area - Connor Davault 3-4, Dakota Glore 1-2, Hunter Leeper 1-2, Cory Lubinski 1-3, Brad Cuyos 1-3, Logan Bradley 1-4. 2b - Davault, Leeper.