Cardinals struggle to collect hits as Tigers earn doubleheader sweep

ABOVE: Fairmont righty Joe Long delivers a pitch during the first game of a Big South Conference doubleheader on Friday at Legion Field in Marshall.

MARSHALL — The Marshall baseball team persevered through some early showers to capture a pair of wins over Fairmont on Friday. The rain held off just enough for play to continue as the Tigers defeated the Cardinals 6-2 and 3-1.

“I thought we competed very well today, just didn’t hit the ball,” Fairmont head coach Don Waletich said. “We started eighth, ninth and tenth graders today, so just doing that, to compete, is credit to the kids.”

Marshall charged ahead of the Cardinals in the bottom of the fourth inning to capture the game 1 victory. Liam Kruse, Andrew Cowden and Jude Knudson reached base consecutively to load the bases with no outs and the score tied 1-1. After an infield fly put one away, Talan Plante put the barrel on the ball, crushing the second pitch he saw into the left-field warning track for a three-run double. Braeden Myhre came in as a courtesy runner for Plante and Andrew Stelter drew a walk. A pair of wild pitches allowed Myhre to score a run and another wild pitch scored Stelter for a 6-1 Marshall lead.

Kruse got the start on the mound, pitching the first 4 2/3 innings before being relieved with runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the fifth. He held the Cardinals to two runs, one of which was unearned, on two hits and five walks. He also struck out two batters.

Fairmont responded to Marshall’s five-run inning with a score of their own in the top of the fifth. Krusse struck out the first batter he faced but a Jensen Livesay single and Joe Crissinger reaching on an error put runners on the corners with one out. Merritt Pomerenke drove in a run on a groundout, making the score 6-2.

An Isaac Stone Walk put two runners on when Myhre relieved Kruse. Still, Myhre came up with the strikeout to get out of the inning with Marshall remaining on top by four runs.

Marshall plated a run in the bottom of the first when Plante hit a leadoff single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Stelter and Josh Kraft then each reached base to load up the bases. After a strikeout put one down, Myhre scored on a wild pitch as Plante’s courtesy runner to make the score 1-0.

Josh Soelter, Joe Hackett and Livesay walked consecutively for Fairmont in the top of the third to load the bases with one out. Crissinger then hit a fly out to center field, allowing Selter to tag up for the tying run, but the Cardinals could not capitalize any further.

Game 2

Marshall 3,

Fairmont 1

Marshall started the second game hot from the first inning. Coby Brownlee got on base with a one-out walk and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. From there, Ashton Blomberg doubled in the Tiger’s first run of the game. He advanced to third on a passed ball and Cowden hit a hard ground ball single to make it 2-0 after the top of the first.

Joe Livesay got the start in game two for Fairmont, allowing one earned run and one unearned over three innings. He struck out nine batters while allowing just five hits and a walk, but a lack of run support left him with the loss.

Brayden Williamson held Marshall scoreless in two innings of relief, striking out two batters while walking three.

“Pitchers did a great job. They throw strikes usually and just didn’t help them on the offensive side today,” Woletich said. “That’s okay though. We’re going to be in every game and these kids are still so young. They’re getting better each game and you’ve just got to keep throwing them our there, along with some of our other guys that are a little injured right now.”

Owen Kesteloot recorded the complete-game victory for Marshall. He was efficient with his pitches, striking out seven batters while walking just two. He also held Fairmont to just three hits and one unearned run.

The win was just Kesteloot’s second outing this season and his first as a starter. His other appearance was a 1 2/3 inning relief spot against St. Peter. He still has not allowed an earned run this season. The Cardinals’ lone run came in the bottom of the fourth. Livesay reached base on an error to start the inning. Vince Schultz came in for him as a courtesy runner, advanced to second on a passed ball and moved on to third on a Pomerenke single. A strikeout put two down but a Marshall error in the basepaths allowed him to come home to make the score 2-1.

Still, the deficit didn’t remain at just one run for long. With two outs in the top of the fifth, Coby Brownlee reached base on an error and stole second to get in scoring position. From there, Kraft singled to left field to drive him in for a 3-1 Marshall lead.

Fairmont falls to 6-4 with the losses and will next compete at home on Tuesday when it hosts Worthington at 5:30 p.m.



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