Herd baseball drops pair of games to Charlotte

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Marshall baseball team suffered its fifth-straight loss, as it dropped a 7-4 decision to the Charlotte 49ers on Friday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park.

The Thundering Herd moves to 25-28 (12-17 Conference USA) and is officially eliminated from the C-USA Tournament with the loss. Starting pitcher Will Ray (3-3) suffered the setback after allowing six runs on eight hits through five innings. He had two strikeouts.

Charlotte improves to 31-22 (17-12 C-USA). Relief pitcher Matt Horkey (1-2) picked up the win by throwing 2.2 innings and allowed one run on three hits. Matt Brooks earned his second save of the season.

Charlotte took an early one-run lead in the top of the second inning. Logan Sherer got things started for the ‘Niners with a one-out triple to left-center field. He was driven in after a Reece Hampton RBI double down the right field line.

The Thundering Herd responded and took the lead in the bottom of the third. In his first start since March, Damian Rodriguez took the first pitch he saw and doubled down the left field line. Later in the inning, Andrew Zban scored Rodriguez with a double down the left field line. Marshall followed by loading the bases with back-to-back walks of Tyler Ratliff and Sam Finfer with two outs. Shane Hanon capitalized with a two RBI single to right field, scoring Zban and Ratliff.

The lead was short-lived for the Herd as Charlotte tied the game at three in the following half inning. Jackson Mims and Sherer hit back-to-back solo home runs to left field.

The 49ers took control of the game in the top of the fifth inning with three runs. Hunter Jones led off with a single through the left side. Harris Yett followed with a RBI double to center field. Zach Jarrett cleared the bases with a two-run home run to left field.

Charlotte kept showing off its power in the top of the sixth with its fourth home run of the game. Sherer led off with his second solo homer of the game to left field.

The Herd cut its deficit to three runs in the following half of the frame. Billy Sager worked the count full and then hit a triple to right field. Tommy Lane drove in Sager with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Marshall was unable to get anything going in the final three innings, as Brooks retired nine straight Herd batters to clinch the win for Charlotte.

Six players for the Thundering Herd recorded hits in the contest. Hanon led the way by going 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Zban finished 1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Sager, Reynaldo Pastrana, Rodriguez and Leo Valenti each had a hit.

Hunter Sexton, Mark Meyer and Jacob Bradley made relief appearances. Sexton went two innings and allowed one run on two hits. Meyer and Bradley combined for two innings.

Marshall was scheduled to finish the regular season on Saturday in the final game of the series against Charlotte.

Charlotte 5,

Marshall 3

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Marshall baseball team dropped the series opener on Thursday at Appalachian Power Park against Charlotte, 5-3.

The Thundering Herd falls to 25-27 (12-16 C-USA), while the 49ers improve to 30-22 (16-12 C-USA).

Starting pitcher Wade Martin (3-4) went 7.2 innings on the mound in the loss. He gave up three earned runs and had four strikeouts. Charlotte’s starting pitcher Colton Laws improved to 6-2 with the win. Laws tossed six innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits.

“Laws is one of the best pitchers in the conference,” head coach Jeff Waggoner said. “We let him groove too much and we got out of our game plan a little bit. We needed to put more bunts down and move him around a little earlier in the game.”

“Wade [Martin] kept us right where we needed to be,” Waggoner said. “It was a bulldog performance. There was good defense on both sides. Charlotte just had more timely hits.”

Each team scored an unearned run in the first inning. Marshall’s run came with two errors that benefitted junior Tyler Ratliff. After a one-out single by Ratliff, he stole second and advanced to third after a fielding error by the Charlotte second baseman. Ratliff came around to score on a throwing error by the ‘Niners second baseman after a Sam Finfer pop out.

The 49ers pushed its lead to 3-1 with a two-run double by catcher Harris Yett in the top of the second. Later in the game, Yett recorded his third RBI of the game with a double in the top of the sixth, pushing the Charlotte lead to 4-1.

Marshall’s bats picked back up in the bottom of the seventh. The Herd led off with back-to-back singles from Shane Hanon and Billy Sager to put runners on the corners. Tommy Lane drove in Hanon with Marshall’s third consecutive single of the inning, while Sager moved to third. Reynaldo Pastrana cut the Herd’s deficit to one with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Sager.

Charlotte added an insurance run in the top of the ninth with a Zach Jarrett solo home run to left field.

Marshall had five players combine for six hits. Hanon led the Herd by going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Andrew Zban, Ratliff, Sager and Lane each had one hit. Sager and Pastrana both had a RBI.

Matt Reed, Joshua Shapiro and Jacob Bradley made relief appearances for Marshall. Bradley had the longest outing, as he pitched two-thirds of an inning.

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