MARSHALL - Starting 0-2 in the Southwest Conference wasn't what the Marshall baseball team had anticipated. But after losses to Pipestone and Worthington, the Tigers remained winless in the SWC with Windom coming to Legion Field on Thursday for a doubleheader.
Fortunately for Marshall, the bats got hot early in both games, and the Tigers were able to put a pair of wins in their conference record with a 12-9 Game 1 victory, and a 10-3 decision in Game 2.
"It boosts everyone's mood," Marshall center fielder Alex Fenske said of Thursday's sweep. "We were all down after (the Worthington loss on Tuesday) and this helps a lot."
Photo by Joe Brown
Marshall’s Matt Campion, left, pounds fists with teammate Aaron Mathiowetz after crossing home plate for a run in the first inning of Game 1 in the Tigers’ Southwest Conference doubleheader with Windom Thursday at Legion Field.
Game 1 got off to an auspicious start for Tigers starting pitcher Mason Schnaible. Five days after Schnaible nearly threw a no-hitter, Drake Borsgard knocked Schnaible's first pitch to the outfield, starting a string of three straight singles. Borsgard crossed the plate for the game's first run for an early 1-0 lead.
Things didn't look much better on offense when Marshall's first two batters were out in the bottom of the first. But starting with a single by Matt Campion, the Tigers got five straight players on base, with two-run singles by Aaron Mathiowetz and Colten Peterson.
"One through nine, I don't think you can say, 'Oh, there's their number eight or number nine, let's throw it down the middle,'" said Marshall head coach Steve Fleck. "I think one through nine, if you throw it down the middle, they're going to hammer it."
Windom101 103 2-9 13 2
Marshall430 302 X-12 14 3
W-Salvador Caballero, Travis Janssen (4), Brandon Thongvivong (6); M-Mason Schnaible, Riley Roth (6), Riley Carpenter (7). WP-Schnaible. LP-Caballero. S-Carpenter. 3B: M-Alex Fenske. 2B: W-Tim Larson; M-Matt Campion. LOB: W-11; M-5.
Marshall062 002 0-10 10 0
Windom030 000 0-3 4 3
M-Riley Carpenter; W-Collin Lovell, Travis Janssen (2), Jake Holt (3), Tim Larson (7). WP-Carpenter. LP-Lovell. 2B: M-Leo Zerr, Alex Fenske. LOB: M-7; W-7.
The Tigers (2-2 SWC, 5-2 overall) boost the lead to 7-1 with a three-run outing in the second as Ben Geary, Austin Saugstad and Schnaible crossed home.
The Eagles were able to build some momentum in the third with a pair of runs. With bases loaded and two outs, Jake Johnson drilled a single up the middle to bring in a run. Picking up the ball, Fenske, an all-state honorable mention quarterback, showed off his arm by throwing out Travis Janssen at home plate to end the Windom threat.
"That's what we practice every day," Fenske said of the throw. "Colton (Peterson) made a good tag at home. It felt very good coming off my hand."
Marshall took a 10-3 lead into the sixth inning before the Eagles put a scare into the Tigers. Windom (0-4, 2-5) scored a trio of runs in the top of the sixth and two runs in the seventh with two outs to go. After Tim Larson popped out to right field, the Eagles had the bases loaded after a walk by Janssen. Trying to finish off Game 1, Marshall's Riley Carpenter coaxed Collin Lovell into a groundout to escape with the victory.
This season, the Tigers have struggled to put teams away, so heading into Game 2, Fleck admitted he was a little worried about the night cap. But his offense quickly alleviated the head coach's concerns.
Scoreless after the first inning, Marshall put up six runs in the top of the second, putting 11 batters in the box for five hits. With Peterson on first and with two outs, Austin Saugstad drew a walk before Schnaible delivered an RBI single. Leo Zerr followed up with a two-run double, and Matt Campion hit an opposite-field single for another run.
Fenske capped off the hit parade with an RBI double.
"We came out in that second game and we had a lot of ambition, scored a lot of runs and did our thing," said Carpenter, who was 1-for-3 with a run scored in Game 2.
The offensive boost also raised Carpenter's game on the mound. After a rough outing against Pipestone last week, the Tigers senior found a groove in Game 2, holding the Eagles to four hits.
"Our defense played great. That's all you can ask for as a pitcher," said Carpenter, who had seven strikeouts in the victory. "Coming back and getting the two wins against Windom, it felt good."
Fleck added, "I was more pleased with how (Carpenter) responded by going after hitters. ... When your team puts up eight runs and he goes out and get three outs right after, that helps you out."
Starting with a non-conference doubleheader against Sioux Falls O'Gorman on Tuesday, Marshall begins a stretch of six games in seven days. Next Thursday, the Tigers host Redwood Valley before heading to Alexandria for a pair of games on May 5.