A’s earn ugly win against Mudhens

MARSHALL- A sloppy day produced a sloppy game as the Marshall A’s and Minneota Mudhens combined for six errors at Legion Field on Friday night. Despite committing four errors in the game, the A’s held on for a 5-2 win in their 2013 home opener.

“I think it’s just one of those things where we need to play. We need to get on a field and see more, get more repetition,” said A’s manager Sean Culhane. “We’re going to have to practice a couple times next week just to take ground balls and fly balls. Once we do that we’ll be fine. But the issue is, when you give up four errors you allow a team to stay in the game and guys have to throw more pitches.”

Three of Marshall’s errors came in the top of the fifth inning and resulted in a pair of Mudhen runs. A’s starter Travis McGlauflin was charged with two of the errors as the Mudhens cut the A’s lead down to 3-2.

The A’s got both runs back in the bottom half of the fifth, scoring on a pair of overthrows by Minneota third baseman Jesus Macias.

With the lead back to three, the A’s turned to their pitching staff to secure the win. McGlauflin, who played his freshman season for Southwest Minnesota State University this spring, picked up the win in his first start for the A’s. The towering right-hander allowed two unearned runs on three hits and four walks over six innings. He also struck out five and induced three inning-ending double plays to end threats in the first, third and fifth innings.

“I thought Travis threw well,” Culhane said. “He hasn’t been on a bump since (SMSU’s) last game, so it’s been a couple of weeks. I think it was noticeable with how he was throwing right away. He wasn’t around the zone at all times, he just struggled with his control a little bit. But overall I thought he gave us a great effort. He only gave up three hits.

“He’ll be a big player for us as the season goes on,” Culhane added. “He’s thrown a lot of innings for the Mustangs, so I’m confident he’ll be there. He just needed to get the rust off.”

Jordon Kontz threw three perfect innings of relief, fanning five and recording a nine-out save for the A’s.

Marshall grabbed a 3-0 lead after stringing together four consecutive hits in the bottom of the fourth off of Matt Musser. The four hits may have traveled a total distance of 200 feet, but Culhane credited Musser (who was an effective lefty specialist for Augustana this season) with keeping the Mustangs uncomfortable at the plate.

“I think he kept them off balance and he’s just a good pitcher,” Culhane said. “We haven’t seen a lefty yet this year and when it comes down to it, he’s a good enough pitcher to where he can keep them in a ball game.

“I think it was a good effort, we just didn’t hit anything hard,” he added. “We didn’t hit anything hard and he kept our guys off balance. A credit to him, he threw well and kept his team in the game.”

Musser took the loss, allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk over six innings. He also struck out four, hit a batter and threw two wild pitches resulting in runs for the A’s.

Cal Swedzinski tossed the final two innings for the Mudhens, scattering two hits and walking a batter.

Andrew Kinney and Jason Minett were each 2-for-4 on the night for Marshall. Minett drove in Kinney for a run in the fourth.

Jason Myrhe, Tyson Sonnenburg and Beau Buysse recorded the hits for Minneota.

The Mudhens (2-2 overall) travel to Tracy on Sunday for a 2 p.m. Gopher League contest against the Express.

The A’s (2-0) face the Luverne Redbirds tonight in Luverne. Culhane is hoping his team can put its defensive lapses behind them.

“It’s not like we played horrible, there’s just things that we need to fix,” Culhane said. “That’s why you play the early games. We’ve got a couple more games coming and after Memorial Day you’ll really see what we’re about.”