ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The MINK League Championship Series is deadlocked at one game apiece.
The St. Joseph Mustangs forced a deciding third game by earning a 6-5 win over the Joplin Outlaws on Friday night in Game 2 of the series at Phil Welch Stadium.
The winner take-all-finale of the series is slated for 7 p.m. on Saturday night at Welch Stadium.
The Outlaws, who won the series opener on Thursday in Joplin, are seeking their first ever MINK League championship.
The game was scoreless until the Mustangs (36-15) plated three runs in the bottom of the third inning.
The first run scored after a walk, a single and an error. Brady Holden’s RBI single into right field and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Dylan Carey made it 3-0.
The Outlaws (25-22) got on the board in the top of the fifth when Korrey Siracusa walked and later scored from third on a wild pitch.
Joplin rallied for three runs on three walks, a single and an error in the sixth.
Matt Campbell and Carson Carpenter both walked before Tyler Davis reached on an error to load the bases with no outs.
After an out, Siracusa drew a walk to pull the Outlaws within a single tally.
Next, Caden Bressler delivered a two-run single down the right field line, giving Joplin a 4-3 advantage before the Mustangs finally got out of the inning.
The hosts answered back in the bottom half of the frame.
St. Joe’s Noah Bodenhousen hit a two-run single before an error in the field allowed another run to cross home, giving the Mustangs a 6-4 advantage.
In the seventh, Webb City product Matt Woodmansee doubled and later scored on Carpenter’s RBI single to right, cutting Joplin’s deficit to a single tally.
Joplin stranded the tying run at third in the eighth inning. In the ninth, Max Bruff walked to lead things off, with Sam Fagan pinch running. But the Mustangs retired the side.
James Yamasaki started on the mound for the Outlaws. He went 5 1/3 innings and allowed five runs, four earned, on four hits and four walks while striking out three. He was charged with the loss.
Edrian Rangel tossed 2 2/3 innings of relief, giving up one unearned run and two hits.
Garron Johnson started for St. Joseph and allowed four runs on three hits and four walks while striking out seven in five innings.
Camden Lutz picked up the win and Morichika Hama earned the save.
The Outlaws stranded 11 on-base. Lott was the lone Outlaw with two hits.
FULL STATS: Mink Baseball League (minkleaguebaseball.com)