PARK HILLS — The Mineral Area College Cardinals found the Lindenwood-Belleville Lynx JV pitching to their liking as they not only connected for 14 hits in both games of their doubleheader on Thursday, but they also included 10 doubles and three home runs in their barrage. The Cardinals won the two games 16-4 and 12-8.
Hunter Leeper made solid contact in both games to finish the day 7-8 with three doubles and a home run. His blast over the left field fence polished off the Cardinals first game for a grand slam in the fifth inning to drive in the needed runs, putting the 10-run rule into effect.
“He’s been struggling up to this point of the season, but he’s a definitely a talented hitter,” said Mineral Area Coach Blake Jones. “It was good to see him have the day he had today.”
The Cardinals (11-8) greeted the Lynx’ starting pitcher with three straight hits including a double by Cory Lubinski and an RBI single by Charlie Palmer. The Lynx were able to limit the first-inning damage with a double play helped by a MAC running error.
“We’ve been swinging the bats well all year, our pitching just definitely has to get better. We’ve got to throw more strikes. We’re putting way too many guys on base and it’s going to hurt us,” said Coach Jones.
Mineral Area exploded for seven runs in the second inning with doubles by Leeper and Corey Huskey. Lynx’ starting pitcher issued three walks in the inning and recorded an error when a fake pick-off move to first resulted in the ball slipping out of his hand and bounding into right field instead.
Logan Bradley drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single and Dakota Glore followed with a three-run home run.
Starting pitcher Colby Brown shut down the Lynx for the first three innings, but in the fourth he was tagged for four runs as Parker Bettendorf doubled and the Cardinals committed their first of three errors on the day. Brown’s third walk of the inning scored the fourth run to bring in reliever Jordan Savage with only one out.
Savage struck out the first batter he faced and a fly ball to center followed to end the Lynx rally. Bradley, Palmer and Glore all drew walks to start the bottom of the fifth in setting up Leeper’s climactic blast.
Jalen Miller started the second game, successfully striking out the side after yielding only a lone single. The Cardinals entire line-up came to the plate in their half of the inning. Back-to-back doubles by Glore and Leeper was shadowed by a two-run home run off the bat of Brad Cuyos.
The Lynx made a game of it by being stingy at the plate for five walks in the top of the second. Coupled with a Cardinal error, the Lynx pulled to within one at 6-5. Doubles by Heisserer and Bradley in the third and a two-run double by Bradley in the fourth kept the Cardinals out in front, despite a home run for the Lynx by Aaron Gardner in the top of the fourth.
Heisserer led off the fifth for Mineral Area with his second double as both he and Bradley finished 3-4 in the game.
Mineral Area’s next game is at home on Thursday against John A. Logan.
Lindenwood 000 40 - 4 5 1
Mineral Area 272 14 - 16 14 2
W - Colby Brown 4ip 4r 4h 2k 4bb.
L - Jim Brady 2ip 9r 10h 3k 2bb.
Lindenwood - Aaron Gardner 2-3, Bret Storm 1-2, Parker Bettendorf 1-2, Oday Alaytim 1-3. 2b- Bettendorf.
Mineral Area - Hunter Leeper 4-4, Corey Huskey 2-2, Charlie Palmer 1-1, Connor Davault 2-3, Cory Lubinski 2-3, Cody Heisserer 1-2, Dakota Glore 1-3, Logan Bradley 1-3. HR- Leeper, Glore. 2b- Leeper 2, Huskey, Lubinski.
Lindenwood 051 100 1 - 8 7 2
Mineral Area 602 202 x - 12 14 1
W - Andrew Suiter 2ip 1r 2h 0k 3bb.
L - Anthony Sitko 3ip 8r 7h 2k 1bb.
Lindenwood - Zack Fortner 2-3, Aaron Gardner 1-2, Oday Alaytim 1-3, Alex Green 1-3, Jacob McEvers 1-4, Corey Kovach 1-4. HR- Gardner, 2b- Fortner.
Mineral Area - Hunter Leeper 3-4, Cody Heisserer 3-4, Logan Bradley 3-4, Dakota Glore 2-4, Cory Lubinski 1-3, Charlie Palmer 1-4, Brad Cuyos 1-4. HR- Cuyos, 2b- Bradley 2, Heisserer 2, Glore, Leeper.