UPDATE, May, 24, 2016: This story has been updated to state Corbin Mertgen walked zero batters.
It was only a matter of time before Lincoln (25-2) would get to Liberal’s pitching staff.
The Cardinals scored a run in the first and second innings before a 5-run fourth separated Lincoln from the Bulldogs (12-9) in a 9-4 Class 2 State baseball tournament victory Monday at home.
Connor Spunaugle’s leadoff home run set the tone for Lincoln in the fourth inning.
“We had a chance in the first innings, I thought, to have put a couple more on,” Head coach Will Lynde said. “(In the fourth) It was just kind of, “bam,” here we go. We were able to take advantage of that.”
Spunaugle pitched one inning in relief to shut the door on Liberal. He also collected three RBIs. Mason Sanders was 3-4 with a double and RBI. Reese Corbin doubled twice.
Corbin Mertgen earned the win, allowing four runs on nine hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked none.
Lynde said there was no hesitation to pull Mertgen from completing a complete-game.
“Mertgen was showing a little tiredness in the sixth,” Lynde said. “So I decided after that inning we were going to come in and take care of business.”
Lincoln advances to face the winner of Adrian and West Platte. That game suffered a weather delay, and will likely postpone the Cardinals’ scheduled May 25th quarterfinal matchup. No matter the opponent, Lincoln will not host.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2