MARSHALL - It didn't take a lot of contact for the Marshall baseball team to put a big number up on the board during Thursday's Southwest Conference game against Redwood Valley.
The Tigers drew a total of six walks, had three runners reach base on errors and had one batter get on after being hit by a pitch. Mix in eight timely hits, five of which drove in at least one run, and the result was comfortable 12-5 win for the Tigers at Legion Field.
"We had a lot of walks and had a lot of good at-bats against their pitchers, which was good," said Marshall third baseman Matt Campion, who went 2-for-3 with a walk and four RBIs. "We didn't have to hit the ball a lot to get on base, but overall, I think it was a really good game by our team."
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Marshall second baseman Leo Zerr throws out a runner at first base during the second inning of Thursday’s Southwest Conference game against Redwood Valley at Legion Field.
Eight of Marshall's runs came in the first two innings as the Tigers (6-2 overall, 3-2 SWC) took advantage of a lack of control by Redwood Valley starter Beau Stough. Stough walked Marshall leadoff batter Mason Schnaible on four pitches in the opening inning and things didn't get much better from there for the big 6-foot-4 senior.
Stough walked three of the first four batters he faced, then gave up an RBI single to Alex Fenske. Two batters later, Colton Peterson ripped an RBI double to left field as the Tigers took a 4-1 lead over the Cardinals (2-6, 0-4).
The second inning wasn't any better for Stough. He started by hitting Marshall's No. 9 hitter, Austin Saugstad, gave up a pair of walks and threw a couple of wild pitches before being pulled without recording an out in the inning.
|RV||111 110 0—5 6 5|
|Marshall||442 110 X—12 8 4|
|RV-Beau Stough, Jeremy Hester (2), Dane Olsen (5). M-Alex Fenske, Riley Carpenter (5). WP-Fenske. LP-Stough. 2B: RV-Hester, Stough; M-Colton Peterson, Matt Campion, Aaron Mathiowetz.|
Jeremy Hester took the mound and immediately gave up a two-RBI double to Campion on a well-hit ball that went over the center fielder's head. A couple batters later, a Redwood Valley error allowed a fourth Marshall runner to score. By the end of the second inning, Marshall had a commanding 8-2 lead after recording just three hits.
With the Cardinals' pitchers struggling on the mound early on, Campion said the key was to stay focused and stay patient.
"Nothing changes, you just have to go up there with a good approach and go from there," Campion said. "You can't just expect things to happen. You have to go up there with an approach."
Fenske, who started on the mound for the Tigers, didn't have the cleanest of games either but was able to avoid the big innings that the Cardinals couldn't. He gave up all of Redwood Valley's six hits over the first three innings, including three hits in the second, but managed to hold the Cardinals to one run over each of those innings.
Fenske was a little wild at times over his four innings of work. He walked a pair of batters, hit a batter, tossed a pair of wild pitches that allowed runners to advance and struggled to connect with first baseman Ben Geary on a couple of different pick-off attempts.
While the Cardinals had five errors on the day, the Tigers had four. Marshall head coach Steve Fleck said a couple of those errors were on questionable calls that resulted in Fenske having to toss around 25 pitches more than he would have had to had the Tigers gotten those outs.
"But he's got to overcome those, too," Fleck said. "As a high school pitcher, if the ball or the call doesn't go your way, get on the mound and go get the next guy. He was still pumping and throwing hard.
"Our guys scored a lot of runs those first two innings and sometimes when you get a cushion like that it's easy to maybe not stay as focused on hitting your spot as usual."
Riley Carpenter came in to relieve Fenske to start the fifth inning and he didn't allow a hit over the final three innings, though the Cardinals scored a run in the fifth after having a runner reach on an error. Carpenter struck out four batters and gave up one walk in three innings of work.
Offensively for Marshall, Schnaible drew three walks, had a hit and scored four runs. Second baseman Leo Zerr had a pair of singles, a walk and scored two runs. Aaron Mathiowetz added an double and scored two runs as the Tigers' designated hitter.
Heading into a doubleheader at Alexandria on Saturday, Fleck said he's pleased with the production he's been getting out of his lineup. With six games on the schedule over the next seven days, he said it's the other side of the ball the team has to focus on.
"Pitching is going to be key for us here and we're going to have to have some guys step up and maybe even throw some complete games to get us through, we'll see," said Fleck, who added that he will give the ball to juniors Derek Buysse and Jared Holland on Saturday to see what they can do on the mound.