With mistakes piling up early and some calls not going its way, the Marshall baseball team dropped to 6-3 on the season with a 9-2 loss to Alexandria Saturday in Alexandria.
A second game between the two teams was cancelled due to rain in the Alexandria area.
With a three-game win streak snapped, the Tigers look to get back to the win column on Tuesday with a Southwest Conference doubleheader with Luverne.
Pitching Derek Buysse for the first time this season, Marshall head coach Steve Fleck said it was an anticipated debut for the junior.
"He was scheduled to pitch in our home tournament, but he had a family commitment that day, then we were maybe going to take a look at him against Sioux Falls O'Gorman before we got hit with bad weather," Fleck said.
Buysse got off to a slow start by walking the first two batters. Then the Tigers committed three straight errors before giving up Buysse's first hit, falling behind 4-0.
After a shaky first inning, Buysse settled down, holding the Cardinals without a run for the next two innings.
"That wasn't the start we wanted, but he settled down in the second and third innings," Fleck said.
Looking to get something going, the Tigers thought they caught a lucky break when an errant pickoff throw went over Jared Holland at first base, with Holland eventually ending up at third. But the umpire declared the ball dead before the pickoff throw, sending Holland back to first. Two batters later, Marshall hit into an inning-ending double play.
In the top of the fourth, the Tigers cut the gap to 4-2 after a two-run double by Alex Fenske brought home Matt Campion and Riley Carpenter.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Marshall thought they had caught an Alexandria player on a stolen base attempt, but the runner was called safe. So instead of leaving the game at 4-2, the Cardinals put the game away with a five-run inning.
Fleck admits that his team got affected by the calls not going their way.
"We didn't handle it very well," Fleck said. "We maybe were getting into the whiny, feel-sorry-for-ourselves mind set. Their job is to play and my job is to do all the whining and complaining. ... When it went to 9-2, it changes how you coach the game.
"(Alexandria's) a good team with a good pitcher. ... We have yet to put a solid game together with pitching, hitting and defense. But I still really like our kids."
M000 200 0-2 7 4
A400 500 X-9 11 1
M-Derek Buysse, Leo Zerr (5); A-Alex Anderson. WP-Anderson. LP-Buysse. 2B: M-Alex Fenske.