By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
What’s a little rain without some thunder?
The Marshall Thundering Herd put away the umbrellas and broke out the bats, knocking off their longtime rival Ohio 4-2 in a game played at Linda K. Epling Stadium in Beckley Wednesday.
“I thought we played well,” Marshall skipper Jeff Waggoner said. “It’s a win.”
The reason for the Thundering Herd victory? The bat of freshman designated hitter Chase Vogelbach.
With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Vogelbach cranked his first home run of his collegiate career to give the Thundering Herd the go-ahead run.
Vogelbach wasn’t finished there. He attached an insurance run in the sixth inning to cement the Thundering Herd victory.
“Vogelbach had a great day at the plate,” Waggoner said. “Chase had a great day. He had a real crucial hit when it was 2-2 to put us up 2-3.”
It was a day made for the young Herd team. Fellow freshman Chase Boster picked up the win. His was one of eight arms used by Marshall.
“We used (8) pitchers and I think they all did a good job,” Waggoner said.
It was likely a long bus ride home to Athens for the Bobcats, who fell to 10-29 on the season. Ohio threatened several times, but couldn’t quite handle the Marshall pitching staff, leaving nine runners on base, including back-to-back innings with at least the tying run late in the game.
“Our pitching staff did a great job of keeping the score where it’s at,” Waggoner said.
The win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Thundering Herd (15-24, 4-8) who are struggling to put together a rhythm late in the season.
“We’ve got to carry this win into the weekend with the big series against Tulane,” Waggoner said. “Anytime you can get a win and go into the weekend is good. We have to clean it up a little bit. We have to have better at-bats.”
Tulane and Marshall find themselves near the bottom of the standings for Conference-USA, coming in seventh and eighth of nine teams. Waggoner hopes that the momentum from a grudge match victory against Ohio will carry on with his young team.
“It’s just about being consistent,” Waggoner said. “We’ve got to keep working on being consistent.”
When asked what the goal for this team is, Waggoner was quick to answer.
“Getting to the conference (tournament) and making a run,” Waggoner said. “We’re battling to get to the tournament. We’ve got two teams this weekend in us and Tulsa who are close in the standings, and we’ve got to get the job done this weekend in a home series.”
The Thundering Herd will head back to the diamond on Friday for the start of a 3-game series with Tulane at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston. Friday and Saturday’s games begin at 7:05 p.m. while Sunday’s first pitch will be at 10 a.m. Marshall will next play at Epling Stadium Tuesday when it welcomes Moorehead State to Beckley.
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The homecoming wasn’t too pleasant for a pair of players who have called Epling Stadium home. Former West Virginia Miners Tyler Wells of Ohio and Gray Stafford of Marshall failed to collect a hit. Wells went 0-for-2 with a strikeout, while Stafford was 0-for-3 and was set down swinging twice.
— E-mail: jrollins
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Marshall 4, Ohio 2
O: 000 200 000 — 2 7 2
M: 101 101 00x — 4 11 3
O: Marck Paliotto, Nick Plys, Logan Cozart, Ryan Ferrell, Brett Barber and J.R. Reynolds, M: Alex Thackston, Kyle Kessler, Matt Hummel, Chase Boster, Kolin Stanley, Ryan Hopkins, Matt Margaritonda, Josh King and David Diaz-Fernandez. WP — Boster (2-4). LP — Plys (0-3). Hitting — O: Jake Madsen 2-3, Dan Schmidt 1-3, Kyle Dean 1-4, Ben Otto 2-4 (2 RBI). M: Isaac Ballou 2-3 (RBI), Andrew Dundon 1-4, Eric Oscobedo 2-4, Nathan Gomez 1-4, Chase Vogelback 2-4 (RBI, HR, 2 Runs),Aaron Bossi 2-4, Leon Sergio 1-3.
Records: Marshall (15-24, 4-8 C-USA), Ohio 10-29 (5-10 MAC)