May 14, 2016
Final Stats | Box Score (PDF)
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - On a brisk May afternoon, Marshall baseball (29-17, 18-8 Conference USA) heated up Nick Denes Field with four home runs en route to a 14-1 win over the WKU Hilltoppers (24-26, 10-16 C-USA).
The Herd has won eight straight games, and has won 11 of its last 12 Conference USA games. The eight game win streak is the longest streak for Marshall since the 1988 season. In 1988, Marshall began the season winning its first nine games.
The Thundering Herd wasted no time on Saturday to set the tone as it pushed across four runs in the first inning. Corey Bird (Elkview, W.Va) led off the frame with an infield single to the shortstop. After Tommy Lane (Pendleton, Ore.) was hit by a pitch and Aaron Bossi (St. Louis) was walked, Tyler Ratliff (Alexandria, Va.) blasted the first pitch he saw for a grand slam to left field. It was Ratliff's second grand slam of the season.
The home runs kept on coming for Marshall in the second inning. The Herd's hottest hitter of late, Leo Valenti (Olympia, Wash.), hit his second home run of the series with a solo shot to left field. Two batters later, DJ Gee (Seattle) joined the party with a solo homer down the left field line.
Following a scoreless inning in the third, Marshall's bats came alive again to score three runs on three hits. Bird led off the inning with his second infield single of the game, and then stole second during the next at-bat. Gee doubled to center field to score the hustling Bird. With runners on first and second, Bossi reached on an error by the shortstop and allowed Gee to score. Ratliff kept the Herd rolling with a double to center field that scored Lane. WKU got a run back in the following half inning on a double play groundout.
In the fifth inning, Valenti hit his second home run of the ballgame with a solo shot to left field. It's the junior's first multi-homer game of his collegiate career. Valenti is 7-for-10 in the series with three home runs, three doubles, five RBIs and six runs scored.
Marshall pushed its lead to 10 runs in the seventh as Lane grounded out to the second baseman, but scored Valenti from third.
The Herd tacked on three more runs in the ninth on two hits and an error. Bossi doubled down the left field line to score Gee and Bird from second and third, respectively. Marshall added its third run of the frame from an error on the WKU shortstop.
Marshall finished the day with 10 extra-base hits, including a season high four home runs. The Herd had six doubles and was led by Gee with two.
Starting pitcher Parker Danciu (Palm Beach, Fla.) was phenomenal for the Herd. The junior tossed eight innings with four strikeouts and allowed one run, but was unearned. Danciu earned the win and moves to 4-3 overall. Ratliff pitched the final inning and didn't allow a hit.
Ratliff and Valenti led the Herd offensively as they combined for three home runs and seven RBIs. Ratliff was 2-for-6 with five RBIs, while Valenti was 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs and three runs scored. Gee was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Bird and Reynaldo Pastrana (Miami) each had two hits.
Suffering the setback for WKU was Austin King (3-5). King went 1.1 innings and allowed six runs on six hits. Kaleb Duckworth led the way at the plate with three hits.
Quotes from Head Coach Jeff Waggoner
On the team's winning streak and outlookÃ¢â'¬Â¦
"It's fun to watch these guys right now. They're just playing with a lot of excitement and team baseball. I couldn't be more proud of these guys. We just have to play one game at a time, and they're doing that. But overall everyone is just stepping in to take a part in us winning."
On Parker Danciu's performanceÃ¢â'¬Â¦
"It's fun to watch Parker keep getting better each week. The work that he has done with Coach Newman is starting to pay off. He's starting to really command three pitches. It was just another great outing by him to give us a chance to win the game."
The Thundering Herd goes for its third straight sweep of a Conference USA opponent on Sunday against WKU at 2 p.m. (ET).