There are only 27 outs in a nine-inning game. On Wednesday evening in Fresno, nearly sixty percent of the outs committed by The Master's College came via the strikeout as the Mustangs were dominated by Fresno Pacific's pitching staff in an 8-1 defeat.
The loss dropped the Mustangs (4-3 GSAC, 13-7 overall) into a fourth-place tie with the 15th-ranked Sunbirds (5-4, 11-8).
The Mustangs could do little against Sunbird starter Jesse Darrah who whiffed 13 batters in 7 2/3 innings of work. After he left in the eighth, reliever Michael Jimenez got three of the final four outs by way of the strikeout.
Meanwhile, TMC starter Charlie Gillies, sporting a staff-best 1.62 earned run average entering the game, was no match although he did strike out seven Sunbirds in his six-inning stint. But, he was also his own worst enemy, committing three errors and recording two wild pitches.
The Sunbirds started the scoring in the third, using a Gillies' error and a Wes Dorrell home run to take a 2-0 lead.
The Mustangs halved the deficit in the top of the fourth with a two-out rally. J. T. Adams doubled to left center field and Joe Riddle singled him home with the club's only run of the evening.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Sunbirds began to take control. They parlayed two Mustang miscues, a passed ball, a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly, and two hits into three runs for a 5-1 advantage.
That was plenty of support for Darrah who sliced through the Mustang lineup until he was lifted with two outs in the eighth. By then the Sunbirds had rung up another three-spot, this one in the bottom of the seventh, chasing Gillies before the inning started and then picking on reliever Mason Nesbitt.
On a very quiet evening at the plate, the Mustangs managed just six hits with Adams and Ben Ives collecting two apiece.
It will be a quick turnaround for both clubs as they face each other again on Thursday afternoon in the second game of a four-game set that concludes with a doubleheader on Saturday in Santa Clarita.