A Granite CIty runner slides into third base Friday against Marquette at Granite City. (Photos by Dan Brannan)

Marquette started off baseball games with Granite City in strong fashion in a doubleheader and left head coach Tim Fahnestock with optimism for the coming spring season despite two losses.

Granite City topped Marquette 9-4 in the first game and 9-3 in game two on Friday at Babe Champion Field in Granite City.

“We started off good but we gave them four runs in the first game,” the coach said. “We started off well against O’Fallon earlier in the week and made a few mistakes and lost 4-0. We have to stop the small mistakes and play better baseball. It is early in the year. This was our first time getting on a grass field.”

Marquette hosts Triad at 11 a.m. at Gordon Moore Park in Alton on Saturday. Monday, the Explorers travel Metro-East Lutheran.

The coach praised Danny Holtz, Riley Damper and Nate Siener for making contact every time with the baseball. He singled out Holtz for his time behind the plate at catcher.

"Danny played really well defensively," the coach said.

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