(HOUSTON, Texas) — The 19th-ranked Central Missouri Mules dropped their season-opener 5-4 to No. 15 St. Mary’s on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. It was the second straight season-opening loss for UCM at the Houston Winter Invitational.
The Rattlers (1-0) got on the board first in the second inning with a solo home run from Mario Maldonado. St. Mary’s added a pair of runs in the third inning, scoring once on a wild pitch and one more run on a fielder’s choice to take a 3-0 lead. The lead stretched ro 4-0 in the fourth inning on a bases-loaded walk.
UCM (0-1) got on the board in the fourth to make it 4-1. Kevin Gratza recorded the Mules’ first hit of the game with a double down the left field line and he later scored on a wild pitch.
The Mules plated a single run in the fifth on Brad Jelinek‘s first career hit and first career RBI. UCM threatened in the sixth, putting runners at second and third with two outs, butDusty Maas was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Trevor Jones walked to lead off the eighth and proceeded to steal second. He later scored on Brad Wilson‘s triple down the right field line to make it 4-3. Gratza then brought home Wilson with a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at 4-4.
The Rattlers regained the lead in the ninth when Maldonado scored on Keith Funk’s two-out single to center.
UCM had a runner on second with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but a strike out and a flyout ended the game and gave St. Mary’s the 5-4 win.
Kyle Gehrs (0-1) took the loss for UCM after giving up one run on two hits with one walk in the ninth. Zak Anstine threw three shutout innings of relief, registering three strikeouts in relief of starter Andres Gimeno, who gave up four runs, three earned, in three innings. The Mules pitching staff registered six strikeouts in the game, but gave up 12 walks.
Maldonado (1-0) got the win for St. Mary’s giving up one hit in 1.2 innings of relief. Starter Rene Solis two runs on three hits in six innings, while throwing 131 pitches.
The Mules return to action tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. against Henderson State on day two of the 2014 Houston Winter Invitational. The game can be heard live on 1450 KOKO orwarrensburgradio.com with Bob Jackson on the call. The Central Missouri School of Graduate and Extended Studies Dugout Show will begin at approximately 1:35 p.m.