Herd baseball playing underdog role in 2017
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The Marshall baseball team enters 2017 coming off one of their best season’s in program history with 34 wins, including 21 wins in Conference USA play. The Herd finished in the top five of 17 different offensive categories, including first in hits (315), RBIs (189), home runs (36), doubles (69), total bases (504) and stolen bases (50).
Marshall returns 14 players from last year’s roster, headed by Tommy Lane, last season’s C-USA Newcomer of the Year award winner.
Lane, a transfer from Mt. Hood Community College, had a breakout junior season. He was selected to all conference first team with a .296 batting average, a team-high 48 RBIs and an .402 on-base percentage.
“It’s good to feel wanted and I wanted to come and make an impact,” Lane said.
His expectations and main focus for the new year remain the same as any season: winning a conference title.
“If you aren’t getting better, you’re getting worse,” Lane said, quoting his father’s favorite phrase when he was growing up.
Marshall was picked by rival coaches to finish eighth in C-USA this season. This comes on the heels of the Herd’s second place conference finish in 2016. Surprisingly, no Marshall was selected to the C-USA preseason all-conference team.
“Expectations this year are for the team to play as good as they can and to grow as the season goes on,” head coach Jeff Waggoner said.
Last season, Marshall came within a half-game of taking home the regular season conference title. While the Herd will try to outperform that result, it will be an uphill climb for Waggoner and the Thundering Herd. The Herd lost 5 players from last year’s roster due to either the MLB draft, undrafted free agency, or graduation.
Marshall opens their season in Atlanta against Georgia State on Feb. 17. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
Mike Morgan can be contacted at [email protected]