Mustangs drop league opener to Caruthers

The Minarets Mustangs baseball team (8-6-1, 0-1 WSL), traveled to Caruthers (9-5-1, 1-0 WSL) April 8, and lost its West Sequoia League opener 7-5. The Blue Raiders were expected to be the biggest hurdle in a title quest for the Mustangs squad, and they proved why in the opener.

Riley Hillerman took the mound for the Mustangs. With four wins on the young season, Hillerman has been solid. The senior has 35 strikeouts on the year, giving up just nine walks, while surrendering 11 runs.

After the Mustangs scored in the first inning, Caruthers scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the first, aided by two errors at shortstop that kept the inning alive for the Blue Raiders. Minarets would answer to tie the score in the top of the second.

It was a see-saw battle as Caruthers scored another unearned run in the bottom of the third to take a short-lived lead 3-2. Liberty transfer Tyler Walker took over on the mound for Hillerman in the top of the fourth inning. The Blue Raiders led 4-3 after four innings, all on unearned runs.

In the fifth, Caruthers plated three more runs to take a commanding 7-3 lead.

But the Mustangs were far from done. Drew Robertson walked, then stole second. Walden drew a walk and Connor Reardon delivered a single, scoring Robertson. Two pitches later Walden stole home on a passed ball, and Reardon moved into scoring position, stealing second on the next pitch. Walks by Carrick and Arron Hall put runners on every base with one out, but that was all the Mustangs could plate as Caruthers brought in a right handed reliever and he did his job, retiring the next two Mustang batters.

The Mustangs out hit and out pitched the Blue Raiders but errors and a lack of communication cost them in the end.

The team played Fowler (8-6-1, 1-0 WSL) earlier this week, and host Livingston (10-5-1) Thursday in a non-league game.

Livingston, with a deep pitching rotation featuring four seniors, plays in the Sac-Joaquin Section. The Mustangs return to league play 4 p.m. Friday, hosting the Parlier Panthers (8-6, 0-1 WSL). The Mustangs beat the Panthers in tournament play earlier this year, 8-2.