OTTAWA — Getting through the Marquette Academy baseball team's order, the way the undefeated Crusaders are putting bat on ball, just one time with only one unearned run against you is a feat in itself, but getting all the way though it a second time is quite another.
The Cru exploded for six runs in the fourth inning, five of them unearned after a two-out error by Roanoke-Benson/Lowpoint-Washburn, paired with the three-hit shutout pitching of Bryce Foster and Logan Komater to lift them to a 7-0 victory over the Rockets here at Masinelli Field on Tuesday afternoon, Marquette's 15th win in an many games this season.
Foster went the first six innings, striking out six, walking four and allowing just three meaningless singles to an R-B/L-W club that hadn't had much trouble scoring runs in its modest three-game win streak. Komater, in his first mound duty of the season, hurled a hitless seventh for error-free MA, which leapt to 6-0 in the Tri-County Conference. The visitors fell to 6-9, 3-3.
"Bryce threw well," said Marquette coach Todd Hopkins. "Their No. 3 hitter and 4 hitter hit the ball hard but at 'em, but he got us out of that inning and did a good job the rest of the way. Logan came in and did a good job and we played good defense again, and that's the key.
"We got that first run across and then I thought we sat around too much, didn't get good at-bats until we were able to break out in the fourth. ... Their pitcher did a nice job. We hit the ball hard at times, but their center fielder made a great catch. ... We just have to do a better job of chipping away, getting one run here, another there and keep adding on.
"We're going to have to play a lot better tomorrow (vs. Seneca) and Thursday (at R-B/L-W), or this result will be reversed."
R-B/L-W starter Sam Hodel, who gave up just one earned run in two complete-game, seven-inning league starts against Midland and WFC, was solid for the Rockets through the first three-plus innings. In that span, MA touched him for an unearned run in the first on a single by Nate Melvin, a Luke Couch sacrifice and an erred Foster groundball. He got through the top three MA batters in the third before the rest of the order got him the second time through in the fourth.
Hodel hit the first batter, Zach Dyche, with a pitch, and two wild pitches and a walk and stolen base by Michael Killelea set up a sacrifice fly by Hunter McAlpine, but that was the second out. However, an error on a Cook grounder opened the floodgates. A Nate Melvin RBI single and a run-scoring triple by Couch chased Hodel for Jack Weber.
The replacement surrendered a Komater RBI hit, an RBI double by Foster and a single by Dyche before Weber was pulled. Ben Monge closed the door in that frame and the next two, but the damage was done. Nate Melvin and Couch each ended up with two of the hosts' eight hits.
Aside from the walks, two of which came in the fifth for the only time two Rockets were on at the same time, Foster permitted just a first-inning single to Jarrett Bline, a third-inning single to Nate Woodward and a sixth-inning single to Hodel. Komater walked one and struck out two to close the door on the win.
"That's their best (Foster), isn't it? What can you expect? I'm sure no one else islighting him up either," said R-B/L-W coach Wade Hunter. "It's a lot different when the game ends the way this one did. When it's a two-run game, things are a little different, the defense is on their toes, there are other things you can do when you get leadoff runners on like we did in the fifth and sixth innings.
"When it's 2-0, now we're talking. When it's 7-0, what can you do? I'm willing to give up outs to score a run, but when our defense doesn't do the job ... We made some good plays in the field, but those don't help when the defense doesn't make the ones it's supposed to."
At Masinelli Field, Ottawa
Marquette 7, Roanoke-Benson/Lowpoint-Washburn 0
R-B/L-W (0) — Jake Weber ss 2-0-0-0, Woodward cf 3-0-1-0, Bline c 3-0-1-0, Hodel p-lf 3-0-1-0, Aeschleman 3b 2-0-0-0, Monge 1b-p 2-0-0-0, Martin lf 1-0-0-0, Jack Weber p-rf 0-0-0-0, Tallyn ph 1-0-0-0, Kennell dh-1b 2-0-0-0, L. Nix rf 0-0-0-0, Weer 2b 2-0-0-0. Totals 21-0-3-0.
MARQUETTE (7) — Na. Melvin ss 3-2-2-1, Couch 2b 2-1-2-1, Komater cf-p 4-1-1-1, Foster p 3-0-1-1, Ni. Melvin cr 0-0-0-0, Jones cr 0-0-0-0, Dyche c 3-1-1-0, Reynolds cr 0-0-0-0, Dougherty c 0-0-0-0, Killelea 1b 1-1-0-0, Thompson ph 1-0-0-0, McAlpine 3b 3-0-1-1, Price dh 2-0-0-0, C. Durdan rf 0-0-0-0, Cook lf 3-1-0-0. Totals 25-7-8-5.
R-B/L-W (6-9, 3-3) 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
Marquette (15-0, 6-0) 100 600 x — 7 8 0
LOB - R-B/L-W 6, Marquette 9. 2B - Foster, McAlpine. 3B - Couch. SF - McAlpine. SB - Cook 2, Melvin, Killelea. HBP - Dyche (by Hodel).
R-B/L-W ip r er h bb k
Hodel (L) 3.2 6 1 5 1 0
Jack Weber 0-0 1 1 3 0 0
Monge 2.1 0 0 0 4 1
Foster (W) 6.0 0 0 3 4 6
Komater 1.0 0 0 0 1 2