April 2, 2017
Game One Box Score (PDF) | Game Two Box Score (PDF)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Marshall baseball team lost a pair of games to the Middle Tennessee Saturday, dropping 8-6 (10 innings) and 6-4 decisions at Appalachian Power Park. With the losses, the Thundering Herd falls to 11-13 (3-5 C-USA), while the Blue Raiders improve to 13-14 (3-5 C-USA).
Marshall was led at the plate by Sam Finfer, Cory Garrastazu and Tommy Lane. Finfer was a combined 5-for-9 with a double, a run scored and a RBI. Garrastazu was a 3-for-9 through the two games with a RBI. Lane was 2-for-6 with his first home run of the season, two runs scored and three RBIs. Finfer extended his hit streak to seven, while Shane Hanon improved his hit streak to eight games.
Joshua Shapiro got the start for the Thundering Herd on the mound in game one. Shapiro collected the no decision, as he tossed 6.1 innings with four earned runs on seven hits. The sophomore had six strikeouts. Matt Reed (3-3) came into the ballgame in relief for Shapiro in the seventh inning. Reed received the loss by going 3.2 innings with four earned runs on five hits. He had three strikeouts.
It was a career night for the right-handed pitcher Wade Martin in game two of the twin bill. The sophomore struck out a career-high 11 batters, most in a single-game for the Thundering Herd since JD Hammer had 11 against WKU in 2015. Martin earned the no decision by pitching eight innings and surrendered three runs (zero earned) on three hits. Will Ray (1-1) picked up the loss by allowing three runs on four hits in the top of the ninth.
Game One: Middle Tennessee 8, Marshall 6 - 10 Innings
A pitching duel ensured through the first three innings of the contest, as the teams combined for four hits. Middle Tennessee broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning. Austin Dennis led off with a home run to left field.
Marshall had an answer in the bottom half of the inning with three runs of its own. Sam Finfer got things started with a one-out double to left field. After a Shane Hanon walk, senior first baseman Tommy Lane hit a three-run homer over the right field wall to put Marshall ahead, 3-1. It was his first home run of the season.
The Herd tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Leo Valenti led off the inning by drawing a walk. Following a successful sacrifice bunt to move Valenti to second, Tyler Ratliff roped a double down the left field to score Valenti. It was Ratliff's team-high 25th RBI of the season. In the ensuing at-bat, Finfer singled up the middle to score Ratliff.
The four-run lead wasn't enough for the Thundering Herd, as Middle Tennessee's offense came to life in the top of the seventh. The Blue Raiders tied the game at five by pushed across four runs on three hits, which included a two-run double down the right field line from Dennis.
Middle Tennessee regained its first lead since the fourth inning in the top of the 10th. The Blue Raiders led 8-6 after scoring three runs on four hits.
The Herd threatened a comeback in the bottom of the 10th, as Valenti led off the inning with a single to right field. After two quick outs, Finfer kept Marshall alive with a single to center field that moved Valenti scored. Hanon drove in Valenti with a single to center field. Damian Rodriguez came to the plate as the potential game-winning run, but struck out to end the game.
Game Two: Middle Tennessee 6, Marshall 4
Middle Tennessee took an early lead by scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Austin Dennis reached first on an error by Will Ray. After Riley Delgado was walked, Drew Huff doubled down the right field line to score Dennis and Delgado advanced to third. Delgado later came around to score on a fielding error by Tyler Ratliff.
Marshall took the lead in the bottom of the fourth by scoring three runs on four hits and one Middle Tennessee error. The Herd loaded the bases to begin the inning. Shane Hanon led off with a walk, Garrastazu reached on an error and Pastrana laid down a bunt single. Andrew Zban drove in the first run with a single through the right side. After 5-2-3 double play that left runners at second and third, Pastrana scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. The Herd took the led off a Will Ray double down the left field line that scored Zban from third.
Marshall's starting pitcher Wade Martin dominated the Middle Tennessee lineup. Martin didn't allowed a baserunner from the third through the seventh inning. He only allowed one hit up until the eighth inning.
In the eighth inning, Middle Tennessee tied the game at three on Marshall's third fielding error of the game. Aaron Antonini led off with a single to right field. He would be moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brad Jarreau. Antonini came around to score later in the inning on a Huff single to the shortstop, but scored on an error by Tommy Lane.
Middle Tennessee completed the comeback in the top of the ninth by scoring three runs on four hits. Blake Benefield had a RBI single through the right side, while Dennis had a two-run triple to right field.
Marshall attempted to rally in the ninth. Lane was hit by a pitch with one out. Hanon singled down the right field line and Lane moved to second. Cory Garrastazu drove in Lane with a single to right field. After a ground out back to the pitcher, Damian Rodriguez struck out swinging to end the game.
The Thundering Herd closes its three-game series with the Blue Raiders on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park. Left-handed pitcher Patrick Murphy is scheduled to get the start for Marshall.