GLEN CARBON - Jackson Rodgers started on the mound and struck out two while giving up two runs on four hits while scoring three of their runs without a hit as Father McGivney Catholic swept its critical Gateway Metro Conference baseball series over Marquette Catholic 4-2 Thursday afternoon at Griffins Field.

Both teams were held to five hits each in a very well-played game on both sides as the Griffins won their 26th consecutive game of the season.

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"Both teams battled today," said McGivney head coach Chris Erwin. "It was overcast, chilly and windy and it turned out to be a really good game."

On a day when the bats struggled for the Griffins, it was two other key factors that decided the outcome.

"Our pitching and defense carried us today," Erwin said. "Our hitting struggled today, but we fielded the ball cleanly and we threw the ball well. Jackson started on the mound and we had three relievers who pitched one inning each and pitched very well. It wasn't pretty today, but we got the job done."

Marquette Head Baseball Coach Tim Fahnestock said the following: "Sherman and Spain did a great job hitting spots and keeping the hitters off balance. A couple of walks and misplayed balls and we have a different outcome. We need to clean up a few things defensively. The team is in a good spot. We are starting to get healthy and get all our guys back.

"Charlie Fahnestock has been solid for us in the leadoff and had two hits on the day. Freshman Jack Rea had a big hit for us and has started to settle in. "

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Both teams traded single runs in the third inning, with the Explorers scoring a single run in the top of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. The Griffins scored twice in the home half to go in front 3-2, then added a single run in the sixth to take the 4-2 win.

Issac Wendler had two hits on the day for McGivney, with Kannon Kamp, Drew Kleinheider and Jacob McKee getting a hit each, Rodgers drove in a pair of runs and Nick Franklin had the other RBI.

Charlie Fahnestock had two hits for Marquette, while both Myles Paniagua and Jack Rea each had a hit and RBI and Will Fahnestock had the other hit.

Rodgers started on the mound for the Griffins and went four innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out two, with Ryker Keller, Dane Keeven and Mason Holmes throwing the last three innings, combining to allow one hit, with Holmes fanning two batters and Keeven striking out one.

Hayden Sherman started for the Explorers and allowed three runs on two hits while striking out two, with Jack Spain and Andrew Roth also pitching, giving up a run combined on two hits, with both fanning one batter each.

Marquette is now 13-10 and stays on the road this weekend, playing Friday at Staunton, then plays at Belleville East on Saturday in a 10 a.m. start. The Explorers host Belleville Althoff Catholic on Monday, play at Carrollton Tuesday, and then go to East Alton-Wood River on May 5, with all games starting at 4:30 p.m.

McGivney goes to 26-0 and has another key week ahead, starting with road games at Valmeyer Monday and at Metro-East Lutheran Tuesday, with the Griffins then host Belleville West on Wednesday, with all games starting at 4:30 p.m., then travel to play Farina South Central May 5 in a 7 p.m. start, ending the week with a 1 p.m. game May 6 at Breese Mater Dei Catholic.

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