Central Arkansas Christian’s baseball Mustangs improved to 6-1 and remained unbeaten in conference play after sweeping a doubleheader with Bauxite last week.
Hayden Cruce’s team handled the Miners, 3-1 and 11-5.
The Mustangs, who were scheduled to play Baptist Prep in another conference doubleheader Tuesday, will play host to Batesville on Friday in their final action before spring break.
“I expect it to be a good, competitive game,” Cruce said of the Mustangs’ date with the Class 5A Pioneers (1-4 to open the week). “Probably both of us will give some guys some opportunities that haven’t gotten them yet, just based on when that game is played.
“Regardless of who’s playing, our kids are going to go out and play hard. That’s what I want.”
In the first game against Bauxite last week, the Mustangs broke a scoreless contest with a run in the fifth. Davis Gatling singled to center field, went to second on Hugh Miller’s ground-out and to third on Grant Wood’s single. Hunter Corbell brought him home with a single to left field.
After the Miners tied the game in the top of the sixth, CAC managed the game-winner with a two-run bottom of the inning. Tanner Weber stroked a lead-off double and Braden Quesinberry was hit by a pitch. Both scored when Austin Holley boarded on an error by the first baseman.
Quesinberry pitched the complete game, allowing five hits, one run and one walk while striking out six.
“Bauxite is really good and fundamentally sound,” Cruce said. “We struggled early. Braden threw a great game for us. We played really well defensively — we had maybe one error in the first game. I was real proud of their effort.
“The thing about this group is it doesn’t really matter the situation — if we get down or up, they just keep playing.”
In the second game, CAC used a five-run second to build a 6-1 lead. The Miners got two runs in the fifth and the sixth, but the Mustangs answered with another five-run outing in the bottom of the sixth.
Corbell had two hits, including a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Quesinberry also had two RBIs; Gatling added another double. Freshman Rhett James picked up the win, giving up two hits, three runs and three walks with five strikeouts in 4 1-2 innings. Blake Fairchild got the save, allowing two runs and two hits, walking five and striking out six in three 1-2 innings.
“We hit the ball well in that game, up and down the lineup,” Cruce said. “We took advantage of a few of their mistakes, taking extra bases, and had a really solid performance offensively. “Defensively, we were not as solid, so we’ve got a few things we’ve got to shore up. But overall, it was a good performance.”
The Mustangs have rescheduled their non-conference game with Sylvan Hills for April 13 after last week’s contest was moved to accommodate the conference doubleheader.