Steve Karkenny hit a pair of solo home runs – one in the first inning and one in the second – to jumpstart the Mustang offense as The Master’s College defeated San Diego Christian Friday, 6-1 at Reese Field.
Karkenny was 2-for-4 with a two RBI. Teammate Collin Nyenhuis, whose solo shot in the seventh closed out the scoring, went 3-for-4 and also knocked in two runs.
Pitcher Jason Karkenny, facing San Diego Christian for the first time since tossing a perfect game against the Hawks on Feb. 6, allowed just five hits and one earned run in eight innings, walking one batter and striking out three
With the win, TMC (29-7, 22-6) maintained its one-game lead over rival Westmont atop the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). The Mustangs will play San Diego Christian in a double-header tomorrow to close out the season series.
With the GSAC tournament on the horizon and Westmont nipping at their heels, the Mustangs are looking to finish strong against San Diego Christian this weekend. TMC will face Westmont in a pivotal three-game series on the road April 17-18.
For now, though, the Mustangs are keeping their eyes fixed on the next game on the schedule.
“We can’t control the future, or worry about the past,” said TMC head coach Monte Brooks.
The players share Brooks’ mindset.
“The thing about baseball and the thing about our conference is that anybody can beat anybody on any given day.” Jason Karkenny said. “We just have to focus on playing hard in our game of baseball and not overthink things.”
Brooks says his players are looking forward to the the next few weekends of baseball, which features home games against Arizona Christian on April 1-2 and William Jessup on April 10-11.
“We are really excited and enthusiastic about this opportunity. We are thankful to the Lord.” Brooks said.
Friday’s game also marked the return of Mustang shortstop Jonathan Popadics, who is recovering from an injury that has sidelined him all season. Popadics must decide this weekend whether to play the remainder of his senior season or take a medical redshirt exemption, which would spell the end of the season but allow him to return play a full season next year.
“We want to see how his hand handled the surgery. So we will assess … then make a decision if it is too painful,” Brooks said. “There’s no losing here. It is a win-win whether he medical redshirts or comes back. We want to make sure he is healthy.”
Along with Popadics, Mustang Tyler Beets is coming off of a broken hand and has started practicing, and teammate David Carpenter is also recovering from an injury and “doing a little better,” Brooks said.
By Stacey Schuett