A hot hitting start ultimately fizzled out for the Joplin Outlaws as they suffered an 8-7 loss to the Midwest Nationals in their home opener at Joe Becker Stadium on Friday night.
After opening the game with five straight singles in a four-run first inning, the Outlaws (2-1) were limited to three runs on just two hits in the final eight frames.
The Nationals climbed out from their early four-run hole quickly with a four-run showing on two hits, three walks and one error in the top of the second. And by the top of the sixth, Midwest took its first lead of the night, 7-6, on a two-run double struck to left field by Jacob Mitchell, who led the Nationals at the plate with a 2-for-4 showing for two runs batted in and two runs scored.
Crowder College product Freilin Cabrera, who led Joplin in the game with two hits and a pair RBI, tied the game up at 7 in the bottom of the sixth with a double hit down the line line in left field that plated Missouri Southern product Mike Million from second base.
The Nationals, however, answered again with another go-ahead run in the eighth on an RBI double by Eli Wells. The score marked the game-winner after Midwest relief pitchers A.J. Calhoon and Ty Wilmsmeyer posted shutout frames in Joplin’s eighth and ninth, respectively.
To go along with Cabrera’s two hits on the night, Zack Ehlen, Million, Donovan Sutti, David Butterfield and Alec Capshaw each finished with one hit for Joplin.
Riverton, Kan., native Dalton Weaver started on the pitching mound for the Outlaws and went four complete innings, surrendering one earned run on two hits while striking out six batters and walking two. Austin Gottula, from Bentonville, Ark., surrendered a pair of runs in two middle relief innings before Japan lefty Nozomu Yamauchi closed out the game by holding the Nationals to one earned run in three innings.
Calhoon was credited the pitching win after giving up no earned runs and just one hit in three innings of work. Wilmsmeyer gave up no runs and no hits in the ninth to log his first save of the season.
The Outlaws open MINK League play tonight at 6 against Sedalia at Joe Becker Stadium.