Hit the ground running

A’s top Rails in home opener, start season 2-0

Photo by Jake McNeill: Marshall designated hitter Wesley Sarsland rounds second base during the second inning of an amateur baseball game against the Willmar Rails at Legion Field on Friday night.

MARSHALL — Coming off a 17-strikeout no-hitter from Mitch Bouwman in the team’s season-opening road win against Sacred Heart, the Marshall A’s continued to sprint out the gates to start the season with another strong pitching performance. Logan Terfehr, Zach Olson and Cody Wichmann each tossed quality innings for the A’s in their Friday night home opener as they took down the Willmar Rails 7-2.

“It’s fun getting to play in front of these fans. We have great fans and a great atmosphere, just looking forward to celebrating a couple big league wins right away,” Marshall manager Ryan Schwagel said.

Wesley Sarsland led off the bottom of the second by drawing a walk and Zach Olsen followed up with a double to put the two runners in scoring position. Charlie Jacobson then followed up with a two-run single into the gap to give Marshall a 2-1 lead.

Zach Olson and Ryan Schwagel were hit by pitches in consecutive at-bats to put runners on first and second to start the third inning. Sarsland then dropped a single into no-man’s land in shallow right-center field to load the bases with no outs. Olsen battled to a full count but Riley Lessman got strike three and then struck out the next batter to put two away. Still, Jacobson earned a walk at the plate to force in a run to prevent the A’s from leaving empty-handed.

Sam Etterman started Willmar strong by getting on base after being hit by a pitch in the first at-bat of the game. The A’s retired each of the next two batters but consecutive singles by Jack Baumgart and Wade Fischer drove him in for the go-ahead run. 

After allowing a first-inning run, Logan Terfehr settled down on the mound to pitch three innings of work, allowing three hits while holding the Rails without a run in his final two frames. Olson followed up with two innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts, and Cody Wichmann pitched the final four scoreless innings for Marshall with six strikeouts and just one hit and one walk in his debut as an A.

“We feel really good with our pitching,” Schwagel said. “We knew that was going to be one of our strengths coming into this year and it’s definitely showed these first two games. With our bats and our fielding knocking off some rust, it’s a good feeling that we know we’re deep pitching.”

Marshall surged ahead to put the game away with a four-run seventh inning. A Schwagel walk and a Sarsland double put two runners in scoring position and, after a strikeout, Logan Tomasek and Jacobson both scored on errors to push in the two runners. Ryan VanMoer then singled in Tomasek and Jacobson scored on a wild pitch to give Marshall a 7-2 lead.

Willmar loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fifth inning when Wade Fischer stepped up to bat, hitting a chopper down the first base line. Olson fielded the ball but, with the defense out of position, was forced to make the tag on the first baseline instead of attempting the double play, allowing Willmar to plate a run to cut the Marshall lead to 3-2.

Lessman tossed the first four frames for Willmar, allowing three earned runs on five hits and four walks with three strikeouts. Patrick Courtney pitched the next three frames, allowing three unearned runs and one earned run on two hits and two walks, while Zach Reierson pitched a scoreless eighth inning while allowing one walk and striking out a batter.

The Marshall A’s improve to 2-0 with the victory and will return to action on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. road matchup against the Raymond Rockets, who finished as the Region 4C runners-up last season. 

“Just need to ride our pitching,” Schwagel said of the matchup. “Just rely on Mitchell [Bouwman], Charlie [Jacobson], Terfehr, all these guys have been throwing for the first time this year and everybody’s looked great. We’re just going to ride our arms and our bats will follow.”


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