PARK HILLS — The Mineral Area College Cardinals are off to a fantastic 12-0 start for their 2013 season. The Cardinals notched their latest two wins over the St. Charles Cougars, 8-0, 8-1, in a doubleheader on Thursday.
The Cougars (0-5), suffering from lack of competitive game exposure since their last played game was on February 8 with 10 rain-outs following, had even greater woe in having to face superb pitching performances by Mineral Area sophomores Carlos Vargas and Jeff King.
Vargas set the tone in game one as he sat down the first 10 batters he faced before issuing a walk in the fourth inning for the Cougars’ first of only four baserunners in the game. Vargas faced only 24 batters in pitching a complete, two-hit, seven-inning game.
The Cardinals backed Vargas with only one run in each of the first two innings, and did not break things open for him until the fifth and sixth innings when they came up with another six.
Lance Fields opened the game up offensively for the Cardinals with a lead-off double and he would score on a single by Clayton Gibbons. Gibbons drove in three runs for the Cardinals by adding a two-RBI double which reached the fence in the sixth.
Ridings doubled in the second to drive in only one run as a second runner was caught trying to score on the hit. Ridings was 3-4 at the plate with a walk to lead the Cardinals hitting.
St. Charles’ only threat came in the sixth inning as a lead-off single by Kevin Henke followed by a one-out walk issued to Zach Herman gave the Cougars their only runner in scoring position. Vargas served up a ground ball to third which third baseman Zuniga and second baseman Ridings quickly converted into a double play.
King picked up in game two where Vargas left off as he kept the Cougars shut out for eight innings before yielding the mound to reliever Tyler Thompson. King struck out 13 batters in the game.
Fields again put the Cardinals on the board with a lead-off single, and after stealing second, he scored on a single by Ridings. Victor Zuniga made it 3-0 with a double to score Ridings and Hunter Leeper who had also reached on a base hit.
The Cougars could not come up with any clutch hits as they put men in scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings with less than two outs, but came up empty in both frames.
A sacrifice fly by Gibbons in the fifth and an RBI single by Vargas made the score 6-0. Vargas drove in his second run of the game in the seventh inning with a well-placed double in right-center to go 3-3 at the plate.
The Cougars salvaged some respect in the top of the ninth with a lead-off double by Austin Boden. A pair of Cardinals' errors allowed Boden to traverse the other three bases, and the Cougars would have scored more, but they got a little greedy on a passed ball that was retrieved by catcher Mauricio Junco to pitcher Tyler Thompson for the tag.
The Cardinals will be back in action at home again against St. Charles on Saturday in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.
FIRST GAME —
St. Charles 000 000 0 - 0 2 3
Mineral Area 110 024 - 8 12 0
WP- Carlos Vargas 7i 0r 2h 6k 2bb, LP- Aaron Bedsworth 5 1/3i 6r 8h 3k 3bb.
St. Charles - Austin Boden 1-3, Kevin Henke 1-2. 2b- Boden. LOB - 3.
Mineral Area - Brad Ridings 3-4, Clayton Gibbons 2-3, Connor Davault 2-4, Lance Fields 1-3, Logan Bradley 1-4, Victor Zuniga 1-4, Brad Matson 1-2, Cole Kaiser 1-1. 2b- Fields, Ridings, Gibbons. LOB - 10.
SECOND GAME —
St. Charles 000 000 001 - 1 9 1
Mineral Area 300 120 11x - 8 9 2
WP- Jeff King 8i 0r 7h 13k 0bb, LP - Brannon Calloway 6i 6r 8h 3k 1bb 1hb.
St. Charles - John Willie 2-4, Eathan Schlesner 2-4, Jack Manley 2-4, Austin Boden 1-4, Kevin Henke 1-4, Brenden Grelle 1-4. LOB - 8.
Mineral Area - Carlos Vargas 3-3, Hunter Leeper 2-4, Victor Zuniga 1-3, Logan Bradley 1-3, Brad Ridings 1-3, Lance Fields 1-4. 2b- Zuniga. LOB - 6.