The Marshall boys baseball team loaded up early on Tuesday, sweeping Luverne 8-1 and 6-4 in Southwest Conference action in Luverne.
The Tigers scored five runs in the first inning of the first game and the second inning of the second game to get a jump on the Cardinals in each game.
"It's huge for your pitchers to go out there and know they have a little bit of a cushion," said Marshall head coach Steve Fleck. "But in the same sense, it's something we've talked about. We've done that a lot and we just don't continue to put up runs and it's something we have to work through."
Marshall (8-3 overall, 5-2 SWC) received a solid performance on the mound from Alex Fenske in Game 1. Fenske went the distance, striking out seven while walking only one.
"We had a big pick-me-up with Alex Fenske pitching a gem in Game 1," Fleck said. "He was hitting the mitt, hitting his target, throwing hard and we jumped out early and kind of cruised in Game 1."
Mason Schnaible, Matt Campion and Colton Peterson all had doubles in the the win, while Campion was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Colton Peterson was 2-for-3, and Austin Saugstad was 2-for-for with two RBIs.
In the second game, the Tigers again jumped out to an early lead on the Cardinals (8-6, 5-5), scoring five in the second. Riley Carpenter pitched the first 5 1/3 innings, striking out three but walking four and hitting one. Aaron Mathiowetz came in in the sixth and struck out three, including the final batter of the game with the tying run in scoring position.
"It looked to be the same in Game 2. Riley Carpenter's first four innings were the spitting image of what we were seeing in Game 1," Fleck said. "He hit about the fifth he started walking and losing a little focus.
"Aaron Mathiowetz came in and did a solid job in relief."
Saugstad was 2-for-2 with a double and helped crack open the second inning with a two-run single. Fenske added another pair of RBIs, while Mathiowetz had a double in the win.
In each game, Marshall committed two errors, but Fleck said it didn't have a negative effect on the team.
"We booted a few here and there," Fleck said, "but the nice thing to night was when we did make a mistake in the field, our pitchers, it didn't get to them."
The Tigers dive right back into conference action, traveling to Pipestone on Thursday and Redwood Valley on Friday.
"We've kind of been looking for that one. They are one that got us early in the year," Fleck said. "We've had this one marked on the schedule that we go down there, are ready to play and take them on there."
Marshall 501 100 1-8 12 2
Luverne 000 100 0-1 2 3
M-Alex Fenske. L-Cody Christensen, Gunnar Olson (4). WP-Fenske. LP-Christensen. 2B: M-Mason Schnaible, Matt Campion, Colton Peterson.
Luverne 001 002 1-4 6 2
Marshall 050 100 x-6 8 2
L-Josh Slieter, Matt Overgaard (6). M-Riley Carpenter, Aaron Mathiowetz (6). WP-Carpenter. LP-Slieter. S-Mathiowetz. 2B: L-Slieter; M-Mathiowetz, Austin Saugstad.