Marshall pitcher Berrisford stymies 'Jacks in 11-0 romp
Freshman pitcher Max Berrisford struck out 10 in five innings pitched for the Hilltoppers.
DULUTH — Freshman right-handed pitcher Max Berrisford delivered a two-hit, 10-strikeout gem for the Hilltoppers in their 11-0 win over Cloquet in five innings Tuesday, April 26, at Wade Stadium.
Using his fastball and off-speed pitches, Berrisford attacked the strike zone relentlessly in keeping the Lumberjacks off-balance through all five innings on the hill.
“He got ahead right away with a first-pitch strike. We preach that a lot — gotta get ahead of hitters, change speeds and work fast. That’s our mantra. So he did exactly that,” Marshall coach Nick Garramone said. “He attacked the hitters and kept them off-balance with his off-speed pitches.”
After a scoreless first inning, the Hilltoppers generated six runs in their second time to the plate with Cloquet starting pitcher Noah Knutson struggling to find the strike zone.
Marshall loaded the bases with three leadoff walks to set up an RBI groundout by Deegan Hoffbauer to open the scoring. Carter Boos pushed the second run home for the Hilltoppers with a sacrifice fly before two more walks plated the team’s third run.
The Lumberjacks’ inability to get the ball over the plate was a source of frustration for Cloquet coach Tyler Olin.
“You can’t do that against any team. You give them free bases and extra outs, it's going to end up ugly and it did tonight,” Olin said.
Prior to recording the inning-ending third out, Marshall made it a 6-0 ballgame thanks to a series of wild pitches with runners in scoring position.
The alert base running by his club has been a point of emphasis in practices leading up to the season, according to Garramone.
“We practice that every day. Every single day. I think sometimes the guys hate me for it, but we practice a lot of baserunning because it’s such a pivotal point of the game,” Garramone said.
The extent of Cloquet’s offense came from senior Marshall Hayes, who was the only batter to generate a hit off Berrisford after connecting for base hits in the first and fourth innings. The strong start is an encouraging sign after a breakout junior season.
“He’s going to be a guy right there in the middle of our lineup all year. He’s a tough out (and) hits the ball hard,” Olin said. “(He) had a good season last year, so I'm excited to see what he can do as a senior this year.”
With the Lumberjacks’ hitters unable to solve Berrisford, Marshall effectively ended the game after plating five additional runs in their final two at-bats against Cloquet pitcher Luke Sievert. Errors in the field scored two of the runs as the game came to an end in an 11-0 final.
Cloquet (0-2) is scheduled to take on Hermantown, Thursday, April 28 in Superior if field conditions in Cloquet aren’t ready. The Hilltoppers will face Superior at home on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.