For the second year in a row, the McDonald County baseball team kicked off its season in style — playing at Arvest Ballpark, home of the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals in Springdale, Ark.
But for the first of those two trips, the Mustangs returned winners as they topped Hollister in a slugfest, 18-11.
A pair of big innings made all the difference for the Mustangs. After falling behind 5-2 in the third inning, they rallied in the bottom of the third with eight runs to flip the scoreboard in their favor. Both teams traded runs in the fourth, and Hollister answered with three more in the fifth to cut the deficit to 11-9, but the Mustangs rallied for seven more in the bottom of the fifth to put it away.
While Jake Wood and Evan Acuff both ripped doubles for the Mustangs, the offense, which rapped out 13 hits as a group, was led by Cooper Dill, who ripped two hits and collected four RBI while also scoring a run. Acuff, meanwhile, slugged a pair of hits, had two RBI and three runs scored. Wood also had two hits, scored two runs and added an RBI.
Emitt Dalton went 2 for 4 with two RBI for the Mustangs, while Jake Wilkie had a hit, three RBI and scored twice. Corbin Mabry and Zack Peck both had a hit and scored two runs.
“We had some great timely hitting, had some guys step up and get some two-out RBI’s,” Mustangs coach Nick Martin said. “We took what they gave us, they put us on with some walks and we took advantage. We got down early and battled back. I’m really proud of (our team) for that.”
The Mustangs threw five arms in the game, with Mark Hull earning the victory in relief after allowing five hits and three runs with three strikeouts in two innings of work. Starter Mason York struck out one, walked one and allowed three runs on one hit in two innings, before yielding to Hull. Wilkie, Dakota Stites and Peck each followed with an inning of relief.
Seth East and Jesse Fisher both had two hits for Hollister.
The Mustangs (1-0) entertain Seneca at 4:30 p.m. Monday.