Shapiro shines as Herd salvage win in series finale versus FAU


Brittanie Fowler

Freshman pitcher Joshua Shapiro winds up for a pitch in a game earlier this season. Shapiro was named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week after pitching seven scoreless innings in the team’s victory over Florida Atlantic University Sunday.

Marshall University baseball dropped two of its three games to No. 16 Florida Atlantic University over the weekend. The Herd lost the first game of the series, 6-3, in extra innings, fell 10-2 in the second game, but responded to salvage a win in the 7-2 victory in the series finale.

The Herd (18-15, 8-7) opened its series against the nationally-ranked Owls with a bout that extended over the course of 11 innings before FAU added three runs in the top half of the inning.

Marshall pitcher Burris Warner collected two outs in the eleventh, but a mishandled ground ball by second baseman DJ Gee allowed one run to score before FAU slapped back-to-back singles to bring in two more runs.

Catcher Sam Finfer led Marshall from the plate, going 3-5, two of which were doubles. Aaron Bossi added two RBIs for the Herd, both in sacrifice situations. Bossi scored center fielder Corey Bird with a sacrifice squeeze bunt in the first inning and added a sac fly in the third to score Gee.

The Herd added another run in the fifth after an RBI single by Gee that gave starting pitcher Chase Boster a three-run advantage heading into the six inning after he pitched five scoreless innings to start the game. However, FAU finally got to Boster, scoring three runs in the sixth and seventh innings to send it to extra innings.

The second game of the series was less competitive as FAU surged to a 6-0 lead through the game’s first three innings. Marshall scored runs in the fourth and seventh innings and headed into the game’s final two innings trailing 7-2, but the Herd couldn’t mount a comeback with FAU slamming all windows shut with a three-run ninth.

Third baseman Tyler Ratliff led the Herd with two hits, while designated hitter Ryne Dean recorded the team’s lone RBI. Starting pitcher Parker Danciu was given the loss after allowing six earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched.

However, in the season finale freshman pitcher Joshua Shapiro starred in his first Conference USA start to help the Herd end the weekend with a victory. Shaprio’s first conference start resulted in his first career win after he pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and recording five strikeouts. In fact, Shapiro’s performance earned him the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week the league announced Monday.

The Herd kicked off the scoring in the second inning after Ratliff connected for an RBI single to right. However, Marshall surrendered a golden opportunity to provide Shapiro with more run support leaving the bases loaded after Bird flied out to center.

Ratliff struck again an inning later, belting a three-run home run to left field to give him four RBIs for the game. Marshall continued its offensive success in the fourth, adding another two runs to extend its lead to 6-0 after Bossi hit an two-RBI single that scored Bird and Robert Fajardo.

After Shapiro exited to start the eighth, FAU threatened forcing two Marshall pitching changes before Warner came in to shutdown the threat and preserve the victory after pitching the final 1.2 innings.

Marshall will return to the diamond 3 p.m. Tuesday when it takes on Eastern Kentucky University in Huntington.