You are going to be in a lot of games when you get quality starting pitching.
The Jefferson City Renegades have been in the first five MINK League games this season, thanks to quality starts.
"It's huge to get that, especially in the summer when you play so many games," Renegades coach Mike DeMilia said Saturday night after Jefferson City dropped its first game of the season, falling 4-1 to the Clarinda A's in the first game of a doubleheader at Vivion Field.
"You can go deep into your bullpen when you play a lot of games, but with the starting performances we've gotten, with the guys getting deeper into games, it really saves our bullpen."
Renegades' starters have combined to throw 28 innings through the first five games, compiling a 0.96 ERA. They have allowed 20 hits and 10 walks while recording 28 strikeouts.
Trent Morrow got the start in Saturday's opener, working 4-plus innings. He allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks while recording a pair of strikeouts.
Clarinda had a baserunner in the first, three in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth against Morrow. But none were able to cross the plate.
"Trent made some good pitches to get out of some jams," DeMilia said.
The A's broke through with two runs in the fifth. An infield single and a walk had runners at first and second before they each advanced a base on a wild pitch. A single then brought them home to make it 2-0 and Drew Voss came on in relief of Morrow.
"I think I left him in a batter too long," DeMilia said.
Voss got two outs, but allowed two baserunners as the A's loaded the bases before Deejay Seelbach came on and got the Renegades out of the inning with a pop out to short.
The A's got their final run in the sixth, sending seven batters to the plate. The run scored on a two-out infield error.
The Renegades had just two baserunners in the final three innings. The last came on a two-out double in the seventh by Kolin Demel before a strikeout ended the game.
The Renegades had nearly half of their outs come via strikeouts by A's starter Reid Fagerstrom, who tossed a five-hitter in a complete-game effort. He didn't walk a batter and struck out 10.
"Credit to (Fagerstrom), he's a good arm," DeMilia said. "He had very good command of his fastball, he threw his curveball where he wanted. It kept us off-balance.
"Sometimes, you just get beat by good pitching and that's what happened in this game."
The Renegades scored their lone run in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Tommy Ruether bashed a 3-1 pitch over the fence in right-center and sprinted around the bases with a solo home run.
The strong pitching carried over into the nightcap as the Renegades defeated the A's 3-1.
Dylan Dunbar went the distance on the mound to get the win. He tossed a five-hitter, not allowing a walk while recording 10 strikeouts.
"I feel really good about our top guys, they all can pitch," DeMilia said.
The A's got their run in the top of the first inning. The Renegades came back to tie it in the bottom of the inning, then took the lead with two runs in the second.
The Renegades had just three hits in the victory, one a solo home run by Carter Mize. Ben Burton, who had a triple, also drove in a run and scored once in the victory. Andrew Paten had the other hit and scored the other run.
"I think Clarinda is one of the better teams in the league," DeMilia said. "We're right there with them."
Clarinda is now 5-2 overall, 3-1 in the North Division.
The Renegades (4-1) are off today before playing Monday at the Nevada Griffons. Game time is 7 p.m.