The Joplin Outlaws scored early and played add-on in the middle innings on the way to a 5-3 non-league win over the Ozark Wild on Saturday at Joe Becker Stadium.
Joplin pushed home a run in the last of the first before adding three more in the third and a run in the fourth to build a 5-0 lead over Ozark (1-5). The Wild answered with single tallies in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but were unable to create any more offense.
“We doubled our hit total from last night,” Joplin manager Danny Weaver said of his offense. “We should have pushed across a run or two more, but it was a great approach. That early run support really gave our pitching the confidence to go out there, throw strikes and get outs.”
The win is the second straight for the Outlaws, which brings the team’s overall record to 4-6. Joplin looks for its first MINK League win when the Outlaws host Chillicothe for a three-game set, with first pitch for the opener scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Getting consecutive wins is always nice, but it really helps to loosen the guys up,” Weaver said. “They understand we are on the right path. Our goal going into these series is to win the first two games, and then try to go for it all in that third game. Winning series is going to be important in terms of climbing that record up to have a chance to make some noise in the MINK League playoffs. That’s our goal.”
Brett Biggs earned the win. He didn’t allow a baserunner until he was victim of an infield hit with two outs in the fourth. He allowed one unearned run on two hits, a walk and five strikeouts in five innings.
“He did a great job and did exactly what we wanted him to do,” Weaver said. “He hit his spots and was able to throw multiple pitches for strikes. When you do that, it really gets the opposing hitters thinking in the box. He did a good job of mixing pitches and keeping them off-balance.”
Quest Mock earned the save after allowing one hit in a scoreless ninth inning.
Ben Cruikshank took the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits, three walks and seven strikeouts in five innings.
Parker Dunn gave the Outlaws the lead in the first with and RBI single, scoring Marcos Villegas, who doubled in the previous at-bat.
Joplin used station-to-station baseball to put up three runs in the third inning. Freilin Cabrera scored the first run on a wild pitch before Villegas came around to score on a groundout by David Butterfield to make the score 3-0. Donovan Sutti slide safely into home on a double steal to round out the scoring in the frame.
Alec Capshaw tripled with one out in the fourth before coming home to score on a Cabrera single to center field to push the lead to five runs.
After the Wild scored an unearned run in the fifth on a throwing error to trim the lead to four, a hit-by-pitch and two walks to three consecutive batters in the sixth inning led to an RBI groundout by Baylor Hinz to make the score 5-2. Ozark added its final run in the seventh when Max Elmer singled home Dillon Turner.
Cabrera led the Outlaws with a 4-for-5 night at the plate, adding a run and an RBI. He leads the team with a .379 batting average.
“We moved him to the leadoff spot the last couple of games, and he has really done a nice job there,” Weaver said. “He lets his hand work and sprays the ball wherever it is thrown. … He doesn’t try to do too much with it, but does a good job of hitting it hard.”