JOPLIN, Mo. — Four early runs jumpstarted the offense as the Joplin Blasters beat the Topeka Train Robbers 10-3 Saturday at Joe Becker Stadium to keep the team’s record perfect in spring training.
The Blasters’ bats came out hot with four runs in the first three innings to get the early lead. Joplin added a three spot in the fifth to go up six runs on the way to the win, pushing its preseason record to 4-0.
Joplin got things started in the bottom of the first when Willie Cabrera yanked a ball to left-center field for a two-run home run.
Playing with the lead, Joplin starting pitcher Josh Evans earned the win after getting through the first four innings only allowing one earned run on two hits and two strikeouts. Arias worked clean frames through three before the Train Robbers got to him for a run in the fourth.
The Blasters’ lead went up three runs in the third inning on an infield single by Ronnie Richardson to scored Will Soto — who led off the inning with a walk before moving to third on a stolen-base attempt which saw the throw to second end up in center field.
Three straight walks later in the inning forced in the fourth run for Joplin.
The Train Robbers got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth when Riley King laced a ball to left-center to score a run and cut the lead to 4-1, but it wasn’t long before Joplin played add-on.
A three-run fifth inning firmly planted the Blasters as the favorite in the exhibition contest.
A leadoff home run to left-center field from Mitch Glasser started the inning for Joplin, and a sacrifice fly later in the frame pushed the advantage to 6-1.
The Blasters closed the inning with an RBI single to right-center field Alberto Castillo, who transitioned to a first baseman this season after spending last year on the mound for Joplin.
Each team scored a pair of runs in the sixth inning, and the Robbers added a run in the top of the eight, but the Joplin lead was never severely threatened.
Tim Vranau started on the bump and took the loss for Topeka, lasting two innings and giving up two earned runs on one hit, with a walk and two strikeouts.
The Train Robbers featured four pitchers in the game, while the Blasters through out five different arms.
The win for the Blasters was the last exhibition game for the team.
Joplin kicks off the regular season against the Lincoln Saltdogs, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at Joe Becker Stadium.
Lucas Davis is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on twitter @LDsportswriter.