WOOD RIVER — After cruising to a 19-3 victory over the East Alton-Wood River Oilers on Friday, the Marquette Explorers continued their climb over the .500 mark.
And they hope to stay there for the rest of the season.
“We need to keep doing what we’re doing, like throwing strikes and hitting the ball well,” Marquette senior pitcher Jacob File said. “I think that will be enough.”
Marquette improved to 13-11 with the win over the Oilers in a contest that ended after five innings due to the 10-run rule. The 19 runs scored marked a season high for the Explorers.
“In the past few games, we left a lot of runners on base,” said Marquette coach Tim Fahnestock, whose team won its fifth straight game. “We just had timely hitting and it all started clicking. It’s a good time to get healthy before the end of the season and get on a good roll.”
Marquette has eight regular season games remaining, including a doubleheader against Vianney on Saturday on the road.
EA-WR dropped to 12-18 with two regular season games remaining.
“We play a tough non-conference schedule,” EA-WR coach Kyle Duncan said. “We play a lot of 3A schools. We won 10 of our last 13 games, so I think we’re playing really well at the time. Today just wasn’t our day.”
The Explorers avenged the 2-1 loss to the Oilers on April 25 at Gordon Moore Park.
“We didn’t play good baseball,” Fahnestock said of the last meeting with EA-WR. “We didn’t move the runners when we needed to and get timely hitting. It was a tough game. They came out on top, but that’s baseball. Today, we started hitting the ball better and moving it and things happened.”
Marquette took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first before EA-WR rallied to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning.
Then, the Explorers scored two runs in the second, eight in the third and six in the fourth. Marquette finished with 20 hits.
“They just hit the ball well,” Duncan said. “I don’t think it was anything that we did. They just hit the ball exceptionally well today.”
All of the players in the Marquette starting lineup got at least one hit. Third baseman Liam Maher went 4 for 4 with three runs scored and an RBI, left fielder Adam Harrison had three hits with a triple and double, four RBIs and three runs scored, center fielder John Blachford went 3 for 3 with two doubles and two runs scored, second baseman Jayce Maag had a pair of doubles with two runs scored and four RBIs and first baseman Konnor Morrisey had two hits with two runs scored and two RBIs.
“Coach said come out and make a statement today and that’s what we did,” File said. “We put some good hits together and got some runs.”
File was the winning pitcher, giving up three runs on four hits and striking out six in five innings of work. At one point, he retired eight straight batters.
“It took me a while to settle down after the first inning,” File said. “After that, we got some runs and it allowed me to throw strikes and not trying to be too cute with the ball.”
At the plate, File had a hit and three RBIs. His sacrifice fly with no outs in the top of the second broke a 3-3 tie.
File is one of the Explorers’ top hitters with a .333 batting average and is 5-1 on the mound this season.
“He’s been lights out the last few times he’s been on the hill,” Fahnestock said. “He has a really good senior year. I’m happy for him.”
Zaide Wilson had two hits with a double and two RBIs for the Oilers. He tied the game at 3-3 after hitting a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the first.
Also for EA-WR, Hunter Hall went 1 for 2. He cut Marquette’s lead to 3-1 with an RBI single in the bottom of the first.
Christian Hunter absorbed the loss on the hill for the Oilers.