CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Marshall baseball earned its first Conference USA series win of the season on Sunday with a 3-2 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners at Appalachian Power Park.
The Thundering Herd (10-7, 2-1 C-USA) has now won six straight C-USA series dating back to last season. The last series the Herd didn’t win was against Florida Atlantic from April 15-17. UTSA falls to 9-9 (1-2 C-USA).
Marshall broke the scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior outfielder Sam Finfer led off the frame with a single to right field. He was quickly moved over to third on a Tyler Ratliff double down the left field line. Later in the inning, Reynaldo Pastrana drove in Finfer on a ground out to the UTSA second baseman.
The lead didn’t last for Marshall as the Roadrunners scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning. UTSA led off the inning with back-to-back singles from Tony Beam and Bryan Arias. After Sean Stacy came into the game as pinch-runner for Beam, Chris Estrada was walked to load the bases. CJ Pickering capitalized on the bases loaded with a 2-run double to left enter that scored Stacy and Arias.
The Herd had an answer in the bottom half of the inning with two runs of its own. Pastrana led off the inning with a single down the third base line. Pastrana would later advance to second on a throwing error on the third baseman during a Billy Sager bunt. The Herd brought in Andrew Zban to pinch-run for Sager at first. With runners at first and second, Shane Hanon singled up the middle to tie the game at 2 with Pastrana crossing the plate. Later in the inning, Zban came around to give the Herd what would be the game-winning run on a Will Ray fielder’s choice.
Starting pitcher Patrick Murphy picked up the no decision today, but put the Herd in a position to earn the win. Murphy went six innings and allowed two runs on eight hits. The sophomore had five strikeouts and zero walks. In relief of Murphy was Matt Reed and Ray. Reed earned his third win of the season by pitching one inning with one strikeout. Ray claimed his first save of his Herd career by tossing two shutout innings with two strikeouts.
Hanon led Marshall at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a RBI. Finfer, Ratliff, Pastrana, and Cory Garrastazu each had one hit. Ratliff had the lone extra base hit for the Herd.
Quotes by head coach Jeff Waggoner
On winning the series…
“Big series win at home. UTSA is a really good team. We just played good team baseball all weekend. Our starters did a great job giving us a chance to win every game. Then guys stepped up at the plate when we needed them to. It’s a lot watching these guys getting better and better.”
Marshall begins a four-game road swing on Wednesday, March 22 against the Tennessee Volunteers at 6 p.m. The Herd wraps up its trip with a three-game series at Southern Miss from Friday-Sunday.
Marshall splits with UTSA
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Marshall baseball team picked up its first Conference USA win of the season by splitting a doubleheader against the UTSA Roadrunners (9-8, 1-1 C-USA) Saturday at Appalachian Power Park.
The Thundering Herd (9-7, 1-1 C-USA) dropped the first game to UTSA, 4-2, but bounced back to win game two, 12-11.
Marshall was led at the plate by Will Ray, Tyler Ratliff, Tommy Lane and Cory Garrastazu in the twin bill. Ray had a team-high .556 (5-of-9) batting average with two RBIs. Ratliff was 3-of-8 with three RBIs, while Tommy Lane was also 3-of-8 with 2 RBIs. Garrastazu finished with a .250 batting average and three RBIs. Ray and Ratliff each scored three times.
Starting pitcher Joshua Shapiro suffered the defeat in game one, but was still impressive on the mound for the Herd. The Columbus, Ohio, native went six innings with four strikeouts and allowed two runs (one earned). He held a 1.50 ERA. In relief of Shapiro was Hunter Sexton and Matt Reed. Sexton failed to record an out as he faced three batters and allowed two runs. Reed pitched three innings and allowed zero runs on two hits.
Starting pitcher Wade Martin was even more impressive in game two for the Thundering Herd. The Wheelersburg, Ohio, native picked up his second win of the season by tossing seven innings with one earned run on five hits. He had a 1.29 ERA and five strikeouts. Six Marshall pitchers made appearances in relief of Martin. Bradley pitched the eighth inning and allowed zero hits with one strikeout. Nicholas Newton, Zac McNeel, Michael Gizzi and Jacob Niggemeyer appeared in the ninth but all failed to record an out. Ratliff earned his third save of the season by collecting all three outs in the ninth with two strikeouts.
UTSA 4, Marshall 2
UTSA broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth. Right fielder Jesse Baker led off the inning with a walk. After a fly out to right field, Chris Estrada doubled down the left field that scored Baker from first.
The Roadrunners doubled their lead in the sixth inning. Estrada had a single to center field and then advanced to second on an error by the Marshall center field. In the following at-bat, Bryan Arias hit a single up the middle to score Estrada.
Marshall was able cut its deficit back to one in the bottom half of the sixth. Second baseman Will Ray hit a solo home run to right field.
UTSA pushed its lead to three in the top of the seventh by scoring two runs in the inning. Catcher Tony Beam led off the inning with a solo home run to left field. Later in the inning, Aldo Buendia scored on a fielder’s choice.
The Thundering Herd brought the game within two in the bottom of the seventh. Ray grounded into a double play, but was able to score Cory Garrastazu from third.
Marshall’s bats were held in check by the UTSA closer Chris Muller in the eighth and ninth inning. Muller retired the Herd in order in both frames.
Marshall 12, UTSA 11
Marshall started early, scoring three runs in the third inning. The Thundering Herd received help to lead off the inning as Leo Valenti reached first on a catcher’s interference. Will Ray followed with a double to right field to put two runners in scoring position for the Herd. Tyler Ratliff capitalized with a double to right center field that scored Ray and Valenti. In the next at-bat, Tommy Lane singled to left field to score the hustling Ratliff from second.
The Thundering Herd opened the game in the sixth by scoring six runs on five hits. Billy Sager led off the inning with a single up the middle. Andrew Zban came in to pinch-run for Sager and immediately stole second. Cory Garrastazu drove in Zban with a double to center field. After a Valenti walk, Ray singled up the middle to score Garrastazu and move Valenti over to third. Later in the inning, Ratliff had an infield single that moved Ray to third and scored Valenti. Lane followed with a single through the right side to advance Ratliff to second and allowed Ray to score. Marshall picked up its next two runs from walks with the bases loaded.
UTSA got on the board in the top of the seventh with a solo home run by Jesse Baker to center field.
Marshall added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth. The Herd had the bases loaded with one out, as Shane Hanon hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Ratliff. In the ensuing at-bat, Garrastazu drove in Zban and Damian Rodriguez with a single to center field, but was thrown out at second trying to extend the hit to a double.
Zban coming around to score in the eighth before Garrastazu was tagged out second base would become the game-winning run. The Thundering Herd entered the ninth with an 11-run lead, but UTSA scored 10 runs on four hits in the frame to give Marshall a 12-11 win.