‘That’s finding a way to win’

Kraft, Tigers combine for no-hitter in 1-0 win over Jordan

Photo by Jake McNeill: Marshall pitcher Josh Kraft throws from the mound during the first inning of a baseball game against Jordan on Friday in Marshall. The Tigers defeated the Hubmen 1-0 in Marshall's home opener at Legion Field.

MARSHALL — Hits were hard to come by in the Marshall baseball team’s home opener against the Jordan Hubmen on Friday night. The two teams combined for just one hit in the game, but in the end it was the Tigers who came out on top for a 1-0 victory.

“Early in the season, pitchers are going to have an advantage. We’ve been inside forever and we haven’t seen live pitching, so it’s such an adjustment out here,” Marshall head coach Chace Pollock said. “Give both pitchers credit, they were good… We’ll get better offensively, but I like our group and I like our brand of baseball that we play and we’re only going to get better.”

After four-and-a-half innings of scoreless baseball, Marshall ended the stalemate in the bottom of the fifth. Catcher Talan Plante drew a leadoff walk for the Tigers and Samuel Thor came in as a courtesy runner.

After the Hubmen unsuccessfully tried to pick him off three times, Thor advanced to second base on a passed ball. JR Vierstraete then lined a grounder to short, forcing an error that put runners on the corners with one out.

Jude Knudson dropped a sacrifice bunt down the first baseline and Thor sprinted home for the go-ahead run.

“That’s finding a way to win,” Pollock said. “Jude Knudson getting that safety squeeze down in a perfect spot, that’s the difference in the game. That’s baseball. You’ve got to do the little things ball to win. If you don’t it isn’t going to happen.”

Joshua Kraft took the hill for Marshall, holding the Hubmen without a hit or a run for all five innings he was on the mound. He also struck out nine batters — including four in the first two innings — while walking four. He also was responsible for the lone hit of the game, a fourth-inning single.

“My offspeed was really working, but my teammates behind me supported me the whole time,” Kraft said. “Even when I was going through the struggles of walking some guys, they stood behind me and trusted me.”

Kraft’s strong start came on the heels of a perfect inning of relief in the Tigers’ last game. He held Luverne without a baserunner in the final inning to close out a 9-5 victory for the Tigers in their season opener on Tuesday.

On the opposite side of the pitchers’ duel, Conner Larson got off to a hot start by striking out the side in the first inning and striking out two out of the three batters he faced in the second and third innings. He finished the day with 10 strikeouts while holding Marshall to one hit, one walk and one unearned run over six innings on the mound.

Karson Rowe came into the game in the top of the seventh for the save. He struck out the first batter he faced and kept on rolling to a three-up, three-down inning.

Ashton Blomberg got the hold for Marshall, pitching a hitless sixth inning. He struck out one batter while walking three, but he picked off one of the batters he walked and Plante caught another attempting to steal second. It was Plante’s second time catching a runner stealing on the day.

“That last one was [out] by a ways, so he’s a weapon back there to have,” Pollock said. “And that’s not the whole deal. Our pitchers did a good job of holding on runners. It may not be the best thing to watch but they mixed up their looks and they didn’t allow their runners to get into a rhythm and see the same things twice.”

Marshall improves to 2-0 with the win. They’ll remain at home to host Hutchinson on Monday at 5 p.m.


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