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COTTLEVILLE, Mo. – Sophomore pitcher Stephen Carter recorded his second save of the season for Mineral Area to back a stellar start by Ryan Paschal in the first game of a doubleheader against St. Charles on Friday.

Carter relieved in the seventh inning with two runners in scoring position and one out after Paschal surrendered an RBI single, and successfully staved off the imminent danger with a strikeout and pop up to seal a 4-2 victory.

Paschal burned through 12 batters over the first four frames, and ended with six strikeouts while allowing only three hits for Mineral Area (6-7, 6-0).

St. Charles starting pitcher Drew Brown worked two solid frames with only one run scoring on an error, but struggled in the third after Doug Payne crushed the first pitch over the fence in left field for a 2-0 lead.

Brown fanned three and allowed just two hits through the first three innings, but gave up six walks in the loss. He walked three consecutive batters after surrendering the home run, then hit two more in the third to fall behind 4-0.

Payne finished 2-for-3 for the Cardinals, and Caleb Feuerstake added the only other hit during the fifth inning.

Despite sluggish offense, Mineral Area closed out the first two innings by turning two of its three double plays.

Josiah Scott went 2-for-3 for the Cougars, including a double on the first pitch in the bottom of the fifth before scoring on an error. Ryan Hutchinson chased Paschal with his RBI single in the seventh inning.

Mineral Area improved its offense in the second contest to record 10 of its 11 team hits against St. Charles starting pitcher Michael Jacobson.

The Cardinals scored five runs on a two-out rally in the second inning. John Benevolent and Mitch Barrow each added big hits later on to finish out an 11-2 victory in seven frames.

With his team ahead 5-0, Benevolent smacked a three-RBI double to the left-field fence. Barrow, who finished 3-for-4, drove in two with a bases-loaded single to cap scoring in the seventh inning.

Barrow notched the lone hit against relief pitcher Blake Pichard, who fanned five in the final 1 2/3 frames.

Brandt Busenbark earned the win for Mineral Area after surrendering no hits until his fourth and final inning. He gave up two singles in the bottom of the fourth as the Cougars broke the shutout bid at 8-1.

Eric Rothermich produced a double for St. Charles against reliever Logan Damesworth in the fifth inning before crossing home plate on a ground out.

Trent Pobst ended 2-for-4, including a two-run double to cap the hot second inning for the Cardinals. Payne also drove in a run during the second, and notched two singles in the win.

Liam Hicks and Dalton Cook each singled for MAC, while JC Delgado executed a suicide squeeze for its initial run with the bases loaded.

Seth DeNoyer provided an RBI single in the fourth inning for the Cougars, and Mike Ward added a hit.

The four-game Region 16 series continues on Saturday with the Cardinals hosting a doubleheader at 1 p.m.

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Sports Reporter

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