A Blank Sweep
January 19, 2013
Santa Clarita, CA -- James Scott and Daniel Sheaffer each tossed five innings of scoreless baseball and their teammates combined for 24 runs as The Master's College capped a perfect, season-opening weekend sweep of Simpson, beating the Redhawks 18-0 and 6-0 Saturday afternoon in windy Placerita Canyon.
In the first of 16 scheduled doubleheaders on the 2013 schedule, the Mustangs (3-0) scored in a variety ways, putting up a trio of big innings in the opener and then producing a quartet of less prolific frames in the nightcap. Either way, it didn't make a difference as the Mustangs excelled in every phase of the game to send the Redhawks back to Northern California winless at 0-7.
In the opener, Scott (Canyon Country, CA), as A. J. Work had done one day earlier, stranded two Redhawk runners in the first inning. However, his teammates didn't respond in the same manner as they had on Friday, waiting until the third inning to explode. By then, Scott had put up two more zeros and was looking for some support.
He got it in the form of nine runs as the Mustangs sent 13 batters to the plate as all but one hitter reached safely one way or another. Joe Riddle (Bakersfield, CA) produced the first big hit of the frame, ripping a bases-loaded double to right-center field while later in the inning, Spencer Downs (Kelso, WA) rapped a two-run single. In between, Anthony Leal (San Juan Capistrano, CA) and Sam Robison (San Juan Capistrano, CA) laced run-scoring singles, Steve Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to plate another run, and then the sophomore leftfielder capped the scoring by stealing home.
It didn't take long for the Mustangs to break out again as they took advantage of two Redhawk errors, rapped out three more hits, and scored five more times in bottom of the fourth to extend the advantage to 14-0. Riddle doubled in Cody Harris (Lakewood, CA) with the inning's first run and eventually scored on a Simpson miscue. Robison, who drew a walk and Jonathan Popadics (Boise, ID), who reached on a fielder's choice, eventually scored on another Redhawk error and Downs doubled in Karkenny with the inning's final run.
The offense took a little break over the next three frames but the pitching continued its march toward the staff's first shutout of the season. Scott finished up his five-inning stint with four strikeouts and allowed just three hits. Tucker Richardson (Modesto, CA) and Andrew Klausmeier (Northridge, CA) followed Scott to the hill, making their Mustang debuts on the mound and combining for three more scoreless frames.
Two of the five Redhawk errors led to the rest of the Mustang runs in the last half of the eighth inning, closing out the one-sided contest. Caleb Halverson ((Temple City, CA) singled in Robison, who had reached on an error, and Popadics, while Harris tripled home Spencer Toth (Asheville, NC) and Downs with the game's final runs.
Downs paced his club's 16-hit attack with three hits and drove in three more while Popadics, Harris, Riddle, who drove in a game-high four runs, and Ryan Shackelford had two hits apiece.
Although the offense didn't reach double digits in runs in the nightcap, the Mustangs started quickly and were never threatened. Most of that was due to Sheaffer, who sparkled in his season debut. The senior lefty picked up his first win of 2013 after blanking the Redhawks on two hits through five innings.
He got all the help he needed in the bottom of the first when Popadics lined a lead-off double to left field, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Karkenny's sacrifice fly to center field.
Two innings later, the Mustangs went up 3-0 on Chris Talley's one-out, two-run double to left field. It scored Karkenny and Downs, who had both earned one-out walks.
After Sheaffer set down the Redhawks in order in the top of the fourth, the Mustangs tacked on two more runs in their half of the frame, both of them coming from another Simpson error. Leading off the frame, Shackelford reached on an error and eventually scored on a Toth rbi single and then later in the inning, Popadics, who never would have batted if not for the error, singled up the middle, swiped second base, and trotted home on Karkenny's double down the left field line.
The game's final run came in earned fashion in the bottom of the fifth when Talley lined a lead-off double down the left field line and scored two outs later on Shackelford's two-bagger to left field.
Following Sheaffer to the mound, junior Tommy Kister (Saugus, CA) showed why he's the club's closer, retiring six of the seven batters he faced in an impressive two-inning outing.
Shackelford, who went a jaw-dropping 8-13 in the three-game set, Popadics, who finished 7-13 for the weekend, and Talley (4-10 with five rbi) had two hits apiece to lead the Mustangs in the nightcap. Karkenny (6-12, five rbi) and Talley each drove in two runs.
With the way the club is hitting, the Mustangs would love nothing better than to keep on playing but they won't do so again until next Friday when they open GSAC play at Biola in La Mirada.