Marshall stuck in the mud

MARSHALL – Sometimes it takes a little luck to break out of a slump. Unfortunately for the Marshall Mudcats, who entered Tuesday’s game with Hutchinson on a six-game skid, lady luck kept an arm’s distance from Marshall’s Legion baseball team in an 8-4 loss at Legion Field.

The Mudcats left 10 runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded in the first two innings, whereas Hutchinson cashed in with runners in scoring position.

“Someone’s going to have to do it, I can’t help them do it,” Mudcats manager Jeremy Ische said in regards to the team’s lack of timely hitting. “Somebody’s going to have to figure out how to do it on their own, how to be that guy with the clutch hit to rally the troops and get everybody fired up.”

Hutchinson had few problems getting hits when it needed them, belting four doubles in the game and receiving a screaming two-run home run from catcher Fernando Villegas in the top of the first.

Marshall starter Carl Douglas settled down after three of the first four batters he faced clobbered extra-base hits. Hutchinson picked up one more run in the second, but Douglas induced a ground ball to short to get out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam. Douglas received a no-decision after four innings of duty, but showed consistency around the strike zone which had been lacking for the Mudcats in recent games

“That’s probably his first time picking a ball up in a week,” Ische said of Douglas. “He just got back from a mission trip to West Virginia. He pitched against Waconia and did well in the wood bat tournament. Outside the first inning, he looked good. He’s probably going to be our go-to guy, thus far, with what I’ve seen out of him. He’s got to have a better start, but he’ll get better as the summer goes along and we’ll definitely work him in their as the summer goes along.”

Trailing 3-0, the Mudcats evened the game up in the bottom of the third. Matt Campion led off with a double, ultimately coming around to score on a single by Douglas. Derek Buysse, who walked after Campion, scored Marshall’s second run when Walker Werpy was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The tying run was scored by Colton Peterson, who reached on an error. Peterson scored as the result of Bryce Johnson’s hustle down the first-base line, breaking up a double play.

After quiet fourth and fifth innings for both teams, the Mudcats were in a position to bust their slump. The wheels came off in the sixth inning, however, as walks and errors helped Hutchinson plate four runs on just two hits. One of those hits was a two-run double by Keegan Macemon. Villegas picked up his third RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly a batter later.

Lapses on defense have been a primary concern for the Mudcats, who committed five errors in the game and walked five batters.

“Today we walked five, hit one and made five errors. That’s 11 free base runners and against a good team, especially in the stretch of our schedule that we’re in, they’re probably going to capitalize on a few of those,” Ische said. “That’s just something we can’t do. We can’t give them freebies, we’ve got to limit that stuff. We’ve got to throw more strikes and go from there.”

Hutchinson scored one more insurance run in the seventh, which Marshall got back in the last half inning.

The Mudcats were unable to get any closer, however, as Hutchinson reliever Gannon Jordahl got a groundout and strikeout to end the game.

Matthew Keiser picked up the win for Hutchinson, striking out seven, but hitting three batters, in five innings.

Adam Kovash was credited with the loss for Marshall, after being charged for all four Hutchinson runs in the sixth. Jared Holland initially relieved Douglas, throwing one-plus inning with two walks and a strikeout. Conner Mesman pitched the final inning for the Mudcats.

Campion and Peterson had the only multiple-hit games for the Mudcats. Campion finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk and double. Peterson was 2-for-4 with a run and a double. Riley Roth had a double in the seventh inning, pinch hitting for Mason Campion.

Marshall’s next opportunity to end their now seven-game losing streak will be on Thursday, as the Mudcats travel to Sioux Falls, S.D., for a doubleheader against Sioux Falls East.