NEW PORT RICHEY — Mitchell right-hander Garrett Kriston struggled with his command coming into Friday's home game against Pasco.
It appeared control issues would again plague the junior hurler against the Pirates after falling behind 3-0 in just one inning.
Kriston regained his composure though after a troublesome first inning and went on to pitch his best game of the season to date.
Having a potent offense to back him up didn't hurt either.
Mitchell collected 10 hits and, showing patience at the plate, walked eight times in a 13-3, mercy rule-shortened win over Pasco.
"When Garrett settles in, that means he's throwing in the strike zone and he's throwing first-pitch strikes," Mitchell coach Scot Wilcox said. "When he gets ahead of hitters, that's when he's successful. His last two outings, Garrett's been pounding the strike zone and getting ahead of the batters.
"Especially against a team like Pasco, you've got to get ahead."
Kriston (1-1) gave up an RBI single to Pasco's Cole Stancil and allowed two more runs on Derek Dious' base hit to centerfield in the first inning to put the Pirates (4-3) ahead 3-0.
Mitchell (8-2) responded immediately, scoring five runs in the bottom half of the inning. Kevin Cramer had the big hit, a two-RBI single that dropped just inside the rightfield foul line. Eddie Goscicki and Cobi Johnson also had run-scoring singles in the inning.
"We could have very well just laid down and died after that first inning, but recently we've been answering when other teams score," Wilcox said. "That's a good habit to get into."
Mitchell added to its lead in the third inning when Gavin Hunt belted a double that brought home two more runs and made the score 7-3.
"When you're up, you don't have to think as much," Kriston said. "You just go out and do your thing. My problem was I was trying too hard and thinking too much in my first couple of starts. Once I can relax, good things happen."
The Mustangs ended the game early by scoring six runs in the sixth inning. A Pasco error brought two runs across and increased Mitchell's advantage to 9-3. P.J. DeJesus singled home two more and Hunt concluded the game with a two-out, two-RBI single to centerfield. Hunt finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs to lead Mitchell's offensive onslaught. Johnson was 2-for-3 and Joe Koehler walked three times in four appearances.
Kriston, meanwhile, allowed just three more hits after the first inning and struck out nine batters total to quiet a potent Pasco lineup.
"Garrett made things a lot easier on our offense tonight," Wilcox said.