MUSCATINE — The Muscatine Community College baseball team isn't having much trouble converting offensive opportunities.
The Cardinals just came up one timely hit short of a doubleheader sweep of the Augustana College junior varsity squad in a nonconference twinbill at Tom Bruner Field on Thursday night.
MCC (22-23) won 6-3 in the opener but dropped a 12-11 decision in the nightcap in eight innings after rallying in the seventh inning.
"The pressure isn't bothering them much," MCC coach Dave Barb said. "And we had plenty of opportunities to win that game."
Barb specifically referenced Jonathan Temenak's line drive with the winning run on third base that ended up being snagged for a third out instead of escaping into left field for the game-winning hit.
MCC also had the tying run on third in the eighth inning but Hecnuel Serrano grounded out to end the threat and settle for the split.
"Six inches higher [for Temenak] and we win and we're home right now," Barb said. "That's baseball, though, that happens. Offensively, I have no complaints. Defensively, we shot ourselves in the foot a bit in Game 2."
The one error MCC committed in the second game created a runner that eventually scored in the seventh inning, and two runs scored in the fifth inning after being assisted along the basepaths by two Vince O'Meara wild pitches.
It was a sour ending to a five-hour doubleheader that started with a strong showing from Tyler Wells in his first start this season.
Wells pitched a complete game, scattering six hits over his seven innings of work with five strikeouts and only one walk.
"He'd been in relief all year and I promised I'd get him a start," Barb said. "He had a rough fifth inning but he threw strikes, put something on it and got guys out without too many mistakes."
Phil Langlois started the scoring in the first inning on Thursday after crushing a three-run home run well over the tall wooden fence in right-center field. MCC added insurance runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Kelvin Fabian and Christian Maldonado each had two hits in the Game 1 victory.
The regular season begins to wind down on Saturday with the last ICCAC road doubleheader for the Cardinals at Indian Hills as MCC tries to position themselves away from perennial conference tournament favorite Iowa Western for as long as possible.
That path begins by earning a few victories against the Warriors.
"Nobody wants to open with Iowa Western, that's an easy call," Barb said. "But if we do our job, we'll be good."