After making a mess of things in the field in Game 1 of their softball doubleheader with Luverne, the Marshall Tigers regrouped in the second game to earn a decisive win and regain their momentum.
The Tigers kicked the ball around for nine errors in the opener, which they lost 10-5. The defeat snapped a five-game winning streak for Marshall. The Tigers came ready to play in the second game, however, piling up seven extra-base hits in a 10-0 victory.
The split puts Marshall at 7-5 overall and 6-4 in Southwest Conference action.
Callie Graff tossed four scoreless innings to start the first game for Marshall and the Tigers held a 3-0 lead through four. But Luverne exploded for five runs in the fifth and five more in the sixth, in large part due to the Tigers' woes in the field.
Several games in the area were postponed Thursday due to rain, but Marshall head coach Jack Houseman said wet conditions had nothing to due with the Tigers' fielding issues.
"It was another one of our lapses where on defense we just couldn't finish plays," he said. "Both Callie and Miranda (Fischer) did a good job pitching, neither of them walked a batter tonight, so they're putting us in a position to win. But it seemed like we reverted to lapses we had earlier in the season on defense."
Marshall 111 001 1-5 4 9
Luverne 000 055 X-10 10 4
M-Callie Graff. L-Ellen Dahl. WP-Dahl. LP-Graff. 2B: M-Brooke Louwagie; L-Kristen Reisdorfer, Dahl, Danielle Kneip. HR: M-Louwagie.
Luverne000 00-0 7 0
Marshall009 01-10 12 3
L-Kaitlyn Roberts. M-Miranda Fischer. WP-Fischer. LP-Roberts. 2B: L-Susan Thompson; M-Graff 2, Fischer, Louwagie, Sadie Zahrbock, Katie Kaiser. HR: M-Louwagie.
Marshall also struggled at the plate in Game 1. They entered the contest on an offensive tear, but had just four hits against Luverne's Ellen Dahl. Shortstop Brooke Louwagie had two of those hits, one a double and the other a home run.
Louwagie's hitting prowess continued into the second game, and her teammates followed suit. Louwagie belted a three-run homer in a nine-run second inning for the Tigers as they broke the game open early. She also had a double in the contest.
In her last four games, Louwagie has pounded five home runs. Houseman said she also has about 26 RBIs so far this season.
"Her two homers tonight were to dead center," Houseman said. "She's really in a groove and the ball is just flying off of her bat. We're happy to see all the success she's been having this season."
Louwagie was one of five Marshall players to have an extra-base hit in the game. Graff was 4-for-4 with two doubles and the team finished with 12 hits overall.
Marshall also got a strong outing from Fischer, who struck out four batters and scattered seven hits. The Tigers still had a few miscues in the field with three errors, but it didn't cost them this time as they were able to preserve the shutout.
The Tigers will hope their bats stay hot this weekend, as they are scheduled to play three games Saturday at a tournament in Pipestone.