A sloppy game in the field put the Marshall A's in a tough spot in their season opener Sunday against Hadley. The A's committed six errors and were down 11-10, but came through with an exhilarating 16-11 win by scoring six runs in the top of the ninth inning.
Marshall got off to a great start to the game and held a 5-0 lead through two innings before Hadley's Nick Bruning crushed a grand slam in the third to cut the lead to one. Hadley then scored five more runs the next inning to grab a 9-5 edge.
By the look of the score, Marshall starter Jordon Kontz had a rough day, but A's manager Sean Culhane said that wasn't necessarily the case.
"I thought Jordon threw a good ballgame, there were just a lot of runs that got scored that shouldn't have been," Culhane said. "We were up 5-0 in the third and he gave up a grand slam, but we screwed up a double play that would have gotten us out of that inning with no problem.
"Jordy threw strikes, he was consistent and he did a good job keeping us in the ballgame."
Kontz worked 7 1/3 innings and gave up 11 runs, but just six of them were earned. He had eight strikeouts and gave up 10 hits and six walks.
Marshall 230 122 006-16 14 6
Hadley 004 500 020-11 10 2
M-Jordon Kontz, Ben Korger (8). H-Max Zwart, Joe Larson (4), Nick Bruning (7). WP-Korger. LP-Bruning. 2B: M-Ben Korger, Tanner Neale. 3B: M-Mason Schnaible. HR: M-Jason Minett; H-Bruning.
Ben Korger came on in the eighth with Marshall down 11-10. He struck out all five batters he faced to close out the game.
"Korger looked fantastic," Culhane said. "This might be a new role for him. He came in and stopped the bleeding in the eighth and then shut the door in the ninth."
While Korger looked great on the mound, Marshall A's rookie Jason Minett looked great at the plate. The Russell-Tyler-Ruthton graduate and Southwest Minnesota State baseball player had a home run in the game and a key two-run single in the top of the ninth that gave Marshall the lead.
"Not a bad way to start your career with the A's," Culhane said. "He saw the ball really well today. Obviously I'm just getting to know some of these guys and I just like the way Jason plays the game. He's a competitor and he's a gamer."
Another young player who had a big day at the plate was Mason Schnaible. The Marshall High School grad had a pair of hits, including a triple, a walk and three RBIs. Culhane said Schnaible brings a lot of speed and versatility to the team and will see an increased role in this his second season with the squad.
The A's will open up their home schedule against the Minneota Mudhens on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Legion Field.