The Joplin Outlaws erased an early deficit with one swing of the bat and rode two strong pitching performances to a seventh straight win after defeating the Ozark Generals 4-2 on Sunday at Joe Becker Stadium.
“Our pitching has performed really well recently,” Joplin manager Danny Weaver said in a phone interview. “Everyone knows their role and sees where they fit. … Offensively, we are doing a lot better job of getting guys on and moving them over. We are also getting quality at-bats early in the game, and that has been key for us, as well. It’s the little things that have allowed us to continue winning.”
The Outlaws improve to 16-13, 10-12 in MINK League action. Ozark, which leads the South Division with a 12-12 MINK League record, is 12-14 overall this season. The Outlaws and Generals are back in action at 7 tonight at Joe Becker Stadium.
“It’s nice to get a big win against guys in your own division,” Weaver said. “You pick up a full game in the standings and really control your destiny. We have been playing well against teams in our division, and that has been our goal. We have an opportunity to pick up another game (today), and if we keep playing how we have been playing, we feel like we have a chance to gain some more ground as the season continues.”
Ozark pushed a run across in the top of the first inning when Blake Vandiver singled home Harrison Stevens.
A single and two walks loaded the bases with one in the bottom of the second for the Outlaws, when Alec Capshaw hit a grand slam to make the score 4-1 and give Joplin the lead for good.
“If he doesn’t hit that ball out of the yard — if he hits a single or something and only scores two — we could still be playing right now,” Weaver said. “He worked himself into a good count, got a fastball and hit it well.”
Brett Biggs earned the win after allowing two runs, one earned, in five innings of work. He scattered two hits, walked one and struck out six.
“He did a very good job,” Weaver said. “He made great adjustments and gave us a great outing on day he wasn’t at his best. To get a performance like that was a plus for us.”
Austin Gottula came on in relief to pitch four scoreless innings to earn the save after allowing one hit and a walk, with three strikeouts.
“Austin was our middle guy, and we had someone ready to close that game out, but he cruised in the first two innings, so we decided to send him back out for the eighth inning to see what he could do,” Weaver said. “When he came back in the dugout, we asked him how he felt and he said he felt like he could close the game out. He did a really nice job finishing it out and saving the bullpen for this stretch of games coming up.”
Capshaw, Zack Ehlen and Donovan Sutti each had two hits, with Capshaw’s four RBI leading all players.