A bad day for baseball didn't disrupt the Marshall A's strong stretch of play. Nate Dickhausen threw a three-hit shutout Saturday to lead the A's to a 12-0 seven-inning victory over the visiting Chokio Coyotes on a cool, windy and overcast evening at Legion Field.
Marshall pitchers have now combined for three straight shutouts and the A's offense has produced 10 or more runs in each of the past three contests. An eight-run sixth inning on Saturday pushed Marshall to 12 runs and put an early end to the game.
"(Saturday) was like you were playing in April, not June 1. But we did play well," said A's manager Sean Culhane, whose team improves to 5-1 on the year. "We took advantage of a few of their mistakes and we hit the ball well. On a cold day like (Saturday) the ball doesn't travel very well and it was blowing in, so it was kind of a weird day to play and a tough day to play but we battled through the elements and got a good performance out of Nate Dickhausen."
Dickhausen struck out eight batters Saturday and has earned victories in two of the past three games. A's newcomer Travis McGlauflin also tossed a shutout for Marshall on Friday against the Milroy Yankees.
After a tough start to the season, Culhane said the A's rotation has really come around.
"It's like we said earlier in the year, you gotta throw strikes because when you throw strikes your defense works," he said. "We weren't throwing strikes the first couple of games of the year and that's where some of the errors came from. Now we're letting the defense work and letting them play and it ends up working pretty well."
Chokio000 000 0-0 3 4
Marshall301 008 X-12 8 2
C-Nick Hervin, Mitch Daly (6). M-Nate Dickhausen. WP-Dickhausen. LP-Hervin. 2B: M-Jordon Kontz 2, Tanner Neale.
Center fielder Jordon Kontz had three of Marshall's eight hits in the game, including a pair of doubles. The Southwest Minnesota State Mustang drove in two batters and upped his batting average to .238 after a bit of a slow start to the season.
Culhane said Kontz took a little time to adjust to a wood bat and get back into his groove after having about a month off between the end of the SMSU season and the beginning of the A's season.
"Jordy has it figured out. He just wasn't getting the break of the ball earlier in the year but things are starting to fall for him," Culhane said. "Both of his doubles were just laced to right-center."
Designated hitter Andrew Kinney went 1-for-2 at the plate, drawing two walks and scoring two runs for the A's. Ben Sanders came in to pinch hit for Marshall in the sixth inning and had a two-run single as the A's busted open the game.
Marshall continues a five-game home stretch at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when the A's take on the Hadley Buttermakers. Marshall played Hadley in its season opener on May 12 and overcame six errors to earn a 16-11 comeback win.
Culhane is hoping his team can duplicate the result but clean up its performance in the rematch.
"They've improved their pitching and they added a couple of hitters, so they can hit it. They're a good team," Culhane said. "I think we're playing a little bit better than when we played them the first time but they're a good ballclub. I like playing them and it gives us good competition, which is what we're looking for."