By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Inability to hit in the clutch kept the Joplin Outlaws in their MINK League doldrums on Tuesday night at Wendell Redden Stadium.
The Chillicothe Mudcats, although outhit 10-6, received clutch pitching from Steve Adkins and reliever Chase Anderson in stopping the Outlaws 2-1.
The Mudcats, 2-2 against the Outlaws, hiked their record to 10-10 overall and 8-10 in the MINK. Joplin dropped to 10-11, 8-11 with its fourth loss in a row.
The teams meet again at 7 tonight in the second game of their three-game series at Redden.
The Outlaws stranded eight runners with two left in the fourth, seventh and nine innings. They didn’t tally in the fourth after opening singles by Koby Chadick and Taylor Eaves, who continued to second on the throw to third, placed runners at second and third.
“That’s a tough loss,” Joplin head coach Rob Vessell said. “The guys came out and played hard. We actually swung the bats well. We hit the ball hard several times right at the defense.
“We just needed to execute,” Vessell said. “We couldn’t get the key hits.
“Chillicothe’s pitching was solid and they played great defense (errorless) defense,” Vessell said. “They came up with the big hit when needed.”
The Mudcats snapped a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning against Travis Northern who virtually matched fellow right-hander Adkins through seven.
But Andy Westfall drew a two-out walk and, running with the pitch, scooted to third on Mitch Huckabay’s single to left. Isaac Smith then pulled a single to left on a 0-2 pitch to score Westfall.
Left-handed reliever Anderson wound up securing strikeouts with two runners aboard in both the seventh and ninth innings to preserve Adkins’ win.
Joplin scored in the second inning on doubles by Eaves and Zack Steadman.
Chillicothe caught up in the third inning on Huckabay’s single, Smith’s sacrifice, an infield single by St. Mary’s-Colgan product Nate Arnold and Ryan Busch’s run-scoring fielder’s choice.
Arnold was robbed of a possible two-run, extra=base hit by a diving Chadick in center field in the seventh.
Northern and Adkins, each backed by solid defense, worked quickly and effectively during most of their time on the hill.
Notes: Mark Rains, the Outlaws’ president/general manager, is expecting a strong turnout at tonight’s game with the friendliest town contest finishing at the park. Free pie and a car show are scheduled between 6 p.m. and 7 in the parking lot. Judges of the contest will duel in a pie-eating contest after the fifth inning. Hot dogs will be 50 cents. ... Probable starting pitchers are left-hander Drew Milligan for the Outlaws and right-hander Ryan Lavoie for Mudcat skipper Eric Peterson.