The Marshall University baseball team split a double-header Saturday against the University of Texas at San Antonio at Power Park in Charleston, West Virginia to open Conference USA play.
In the first game, both teams had good pitching and defense to start the contest. Both teams had 2 hits in the first three innings, but could not amount to any offense. The game was delayed for almost an hour during the third, before UTSA took a lead in the fourth with Jesse Baker scoring off a Chris Estrada double.
Nolan Trabanino and the Roadrunner’s defense kept the Thundering Herd at bay, allowing four of Marshall’s five hits on the game. Trabanino was solid for most of his play, until the sixth inning when the Marshall line up got to him.
Trabanino got the leadoff hitter out, Leo Valenti to pop up to short, but Will Ray hit a homerun, cutting the UTSA lead in half, 2-1. Sam Finfer hit a single following the home run, but he would be picked off, during the next at bat. UTSA would end playing 3 different pitchers, giving up a combination of three walks and one home run, but the defense behind them would strand three Marshall base runners ending an enormous opportunity for the Herd.
In the seventh, the road runners put the game out of reach for the Herd. Hunter Sexton came in for starting pitcher Joshua Shapiro, and gave up a homerun to the leadoff batter Tony Beam. Sexton walked the next batter, before hitting Skyler Valentine with a pitch. Sexton was pulled after that for Matt Reed, but the damage was already done. Marshall only gave up two runs, but it put the lead at 4-1 for the Roadrunners.
Marshall scored one more run in the bottom of the seventh, but that would be the last run scored in game one, as Chris Muller closed the game for the Roadrunners.
In game two, Marshall took the early advantage. Valenti reached base on an umpire ruled catcher’s interference, Ray hit a double to right, moving the runners to second and third, before Ratliff doubled to right center, scoring two RBIs. Ratliff came around the bases and scored on Tommy Lane’s single the next at bat.
Marshall put some distance between the teams in the bottom of the sixth. It started small with a simple single up the middle, but it got out of hand quickly. The Herd scored six runs, off five hits, with the majority of those being singles. The only hit that wasn’t a single was a double hit by Cory Garrastazu. The rest of the runs scored off base on balls when the bases were loaded. At the end of the inning, Marshall had the commanding lead of 9-0.
Wade Martin pitched well for the Thundering Herd, giving up five hits and one run. Martin had a 2.45 ERA coming into today’s game, and clearly improved it after his seven complete innings of play. Martin was replaced by Jacob Bradley after 92 pitches. Martin was credited with the win, bringing his overall record to 2-1.
The top of the ninth inning became a wild affair as UTSA scored eight runs before the first out was recorded. The Roadrunners scored 10 runs in the inning. Marshall had 5 different pitchers, including fielders changing positions in order to pitch, but escaped by the score of 12-11. Tyler Ratliff, who started the game fielding at third base, recorded the save.
The split brings the Thundering Herd’s overall record to 9-7 and 1-1 in conference play. Marshall is scheduled to play the final game of the series at 1 p.m. Sunday at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.
Joesph Ashley can be contacted at [email protected]