|Mount Mercy (Iowa) (10-11, 2-2 Heart)||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||1||3||7||0|
|Baker (Kan.) (6-16, 1-3 Heart)||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||2||8||3|
|Baldwin City, KS|
|Mount Mercy (Iowa)||Pitching||Baker (Kan.)|
|Mount Mercy (Iowa)||Indv. Stats||Baker (Kan.)|
|2 Players (#2,#6)||Doubles||#13 Mcalister, Zak|
|#5 Shrader, Collin||Triples||None|
BALDWIN CITY, Kan. -- The Mount Mercy baseball team led in every game but settled for wins in the first and last games of a 4-game series against Avila (Mo.) and Baker (Kan.) during the opening weekend of Heart of America Athletic Conference play. The Mustangs won Friday's opener against the Eagles, 2-1, then dropped game two, 6-5. After falling to the Wildcats in game one on Saturday, 5-3, Mount Mercy came back for a 3-2 victory in the 9-inning finale.
Kobi Candaroma drove in a run in the first inning and Collin Shrader did the same in the second and that was all the Mustangs needed in game one at Avila. Dustin Amos (3-0) went the distance for Mount Mercy, allowing just one earned run on seven hits while striking out two in seven innings. Candaroma, Owen Oreskovich, and Evan Jackson had two hits apiece in the win over an Eagle squad receiving votes in the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll.
A 4-run seventh inning had the Mustangs thinking sweep in game two, but Avila scored the tying and game-winning run with one out in the bottom of the seventh to earn a split. Trailing 4-1 entering their final at-bat, Mount Mercy got a run-scoring single by Jackson and RBI groundout from Shrader to get within 4-3. One batter later, Tito Berdecia's 2-run double put the Mustangs in front, 5-4. The Eagles (15-6, 2-2 Heart) responded with two runs off Chandler Poell (0-2) and Blake Willenborg to win it in the bottom of the seventh. Berdecia finished 2-for-3 with three runs batted in. Jackson had another multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
Mount Mercy let a 3-1 lead get away in Saturday's opener at Baker (6-16, 1-3 Heart). A dropped fly ball by the Wildcats allowed Casey Dahm and Parker Johnson to score unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning. A Baker run in the bottom of the fourth and another an inning later tied things up at 3-3. A leadoff double and a pair of RBI singles by the Wildcats in the bottom of the sixth gave them a 5-3 win. Matt Trouten (2-2) struck out seven and walked two in 5-1/3 innings. He gave up four earned runs on seven hits before giving way to Willenborg for the 2/3 of an inning. Shrader, Oreskovich, Johnson, and Noah Dostal accounted for Mount Mercy's four hits.
Shrader's RBI triple with two outs in the top of the ninth inning allowed the Mustangs to escape with a split on Saturday. Shrader, Eric Weisbrod, and Dostal each drove in a run while Reid Bonner collected two hits for Mount Mercy. The Mustangs got six solid innings from Ryan Flaherty, who struck out seven and walked one while scattering six hits and not allowing an earned run. Todd Oberthein (1-0) picked up his first victory of the season and Poell got his third save after getting out of a jam in the ninth.
Mount Mercy (10-11, 2-2 Heart) has a 4-game set at Peru State (Neb.) (7-3, 2-0 Heart) on Saturday and Sunday, March 17-18. First pitch is 1:00 p.m. both days in Peru, Neb. The Mustangs are back at home for a non-conference game with Cornell on Tuesday, March 20, at 4:30 p.m. at the Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex.