ST. LOUIS — Sophomore shortstop Hunter Leeper belted a tying home run in the ninth inning, and the Mineral Area baseball team forged a doubleheader split Thursday as superb pitching ushered in the Region 16 schedule.
Cody Heisserer combined with relievers Jake Moore and Mauricio Junco on a 2-hitter, and the Cardinals edged St. Louis 2-1 in the second game.
The Archers blanked the MAC lineup through 15 innings of action before yielding the clutch solo shot to Leeper, his fourth homer of the season.
Charlie Palmer doubled and scored the go-ahead run later in the ninth, and Junco quickly retired St. Louis to notch the save.
Moore worked three innings for the win despite walking three and allowing the game’s initial run in the eighth. Heisserer gave only four base runners and fanned five through the first five frames in a no-decision.
Brad Cuyos added a double while Dakota Glore and Logan Bradley collected singles in the victory.
That competitive contest followed another pitcher’s duel in game 1. St. Louis triumphed 1-0 after pushing across an unearned run in the fourth inning.
Winning pitcher Matthew Hassenbeck threw six scoreless innings and Colin McDonough picked up the save as each club collected five hits.
The Cardinals squandered a complete game on the mound from freshman Andrew Suiter, who scattered five hits and notched one strikeout.
Cuyos, Glore and Bradley reached base twice on a single and walk. Connor Davault doubled and Heisserer singled for Mineral Area (13-10).
The teams will continue their 4-game series Saturday in St. Louis.