The Master's College

Mustangs Work Redhawks

January 18, 2013

Santa Clarita, CA -- Steve Karkenney and Ryan Shackelford rapped out four hits apiece and A. J. Work tossed five shutout innings to lead The Master's College past Simpson 19-1 in the Mustangs' season opener Friday afternoon on Reese Field.

After Work (Boise, ID) wiggled out of a two-on, two-out jam in the first inning, the Mustangs dented the scoreboard twice in their first time at the plate this year.  With one out, Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA) tripled to right-center field and after Spencer Downs (Kelso, WA) drew a walk, Chris Talley (Simi Valley, CA) slammed a two-run double to right field for the first runs of 2013.  

Work retired the Redhawks in order in the top of the second and his teammates added to his cushion with a run produced by some small ball in the bottom of the frame.  Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) led off with an infield hit, swiped second and third bases, and scored on Jonathan Popadics' (Boise, ID) sacrifice fly to right field.

Meanwhile, the Redhawks weren't doing anything against Work, who set down 11 hitters in a row from the end of the first inning through the top of the fifth.

Motivated by their ace's performance on the mound, the Mustangs went to work in their half of the fourth, sending 10 hitters to the plate and scoring six times to extend the lead to 9-0.  Shackelford, who singled twice in the inning on the way to a career-high four hits, and Popadics drove in two runs apiece in the inning while Talley and Cody Harris (Lakewood, CA) each added an rbi.

Work's day ended after a scoreless fifth inning as the senior southpaw struck out three and allowed two hits on the way to his 19th career win.

However, his teammates weren't done.  After Dalton Thompson (Riverside, CA) pitched a pair of innings in his collegiate debut, giving up the lone Redhawk tally in the seventh, the Mustangs put seven more runs on the board in the bottom of the frame.  This time, they sent 11 batters to the plate and laced out seven hits.  Three of the hits were of the extra-base variety and five hitters produced rbi as the lead ballooned to 16-1.

Relievers Bryce Clancey (Phoenix, AZ) and Justyn Lee (Woodland Hills, CA) blanked the Redhawks in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to finish off a sparkling combined effort on the hill.

The Mustangs capped their 19-hit assault in the eighth inning with one more but they scored three times in the frame to cap off a big opening day.  Sam Robison (San Juan Capistrano, CA) and Popadics drew bases-loaded walks to produce two runs and a Karkenny fielder's choice plated the game's final tally.

Karkenny, who finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle, went 4-7 and scored three times while Shackelford was 4-5.  Popadics, who went 3-5, drove in a team-best four runs while Talley and Shackelford drove in three runs apiece.

Neither team will have much time to dwell on this one as they meet tomorrow morning for a doubleheader on Reese Field.  The first pitch of the day will be thrown at 11:00am.