COTTLEVILLE, Mo. – Ryker Walton pitched seven sensational innings to help the Mineral Area baseball team secure a chilly doubleheader split on Thursday.
The Cardinals scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning, and edged St. Charles 5-2 in game two after losing a two-run lead moments earlier.
Alonzo Zuniga homered while going 2-for-5 overall with two RBI, and Austin Jerger drove in two more as Mineral Area (15-8, 2-2) maximized seven hits.
Leadoff man Justin Carinci finished a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Antoine Tremblay and Jack Dunn each produced a single and walk.
Walton settled for a no-decision despite striking out a career-high 17 batters. He departed with a 2-0 lead after allowing just two hits and three walks.
St. Charles (12-12, 5-1) needed only four batters to draw even against reliever Grant Nicholson in the bottom of the eighth. An error helped put the potential go-ahead run on base with one out.
Carter Rees worked through the inherited jam, however, and obtained the last five outs for the eventual win while striking out three and yielding one hit.
The Cougars claimed the opener 7-3 after pouncing for four unearned runs against reliever Eddie Friedel in the fifth inning. Bryce Morgan allowed a run in the sixth.
Carinci and Tremblay belted solo home runs, and Mineral Area grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third inning before St. Charles answered with two in the fourth.
Tremblay paced the Cardinals at 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Carinci notched two RBI, and Liam Bushey contributed a double to their total of seven hits.
MAC ace Gavin Oswald made his seventh start of the season and pitched the first four innings. He struck out eight while allowing two earned runs on five hits and three walks.
Karter Kekec, Zuniga and Dunn singled for Mineral Area.
The Cardinals rescheduled the remainder of the Region 16 series for Friday with a threat of cold and wet weather looming over the weekend.