The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

May 12, 2013

Marshall tops ECU at Epling Stadium

Marshall wanted a win, and not just for the obvious reason.

On Senior Night, when eight seniors were honored on the field that has become one of their homes away from home, the Thundering Herd defeated East Carolina 4-3 Saturday at Beckley’s Linda K. Epling Stadium.

It was the 15th win at Epling Stadium for the Herd, which helped christen the venue in 2010. Seniors Isaac Ballou, Alfredo Brito, Nathan Gomez, Matt Hummel, Matt Kirkwood, Terrence Moore, Wayland Moore and Gray Stafford were all recognized in a home plate ceremony before the game.

Marshall got to Conference USA saves leader Drew Reynolds in the eighth, scoring two runs in the eighth. Both runs were charged to Brett Mabry (3-3), but it was Reynolds’ fourth blown save in 16 chances.

“Probably more than anything, if you asked any of the seniors what they wanted tonight, it was a win,” Marshall coach Jeff Waggoner said. “And we gave it to them. You can’t honor them in a better way.”

Beyond the sentimental value, the win also returned Marshall (19-30, 6-14) to sole possession of the eighth and final spot in the C-USA standings.  The top eight teams in the nine-team league advance to the conference tournament.

The Herd fell into a tie with UAB Friday night after the Blazers defeated Houston 8-7. UAB fell to the Cougars 11-2 Saturday, giving Marshall a one-game edge.

Marshall, which ended a four-game losing streak, had to like its chances with ace Aaron Blair getting the start. Blair is not a senior, but he won’t be back next year — a throng of Major League scouts were on hand to watch Blair, who is projected as a first- or second-round pick in next month’s first-year players draft.

Blair wasn’t dominant, walking five and allowing seven hits over 6 2/3 innings. He also hit a batter in his 118-pitch outing.

He was in line to take the loss when he was pulled in the seventh after the Pirates (27-23, 11-9) scored twice to take their only lead of the game. Both runs were scored with two outs.

Zach Houchins singled and Chase McDonald walked before Ben Fultz reached on an error by shortstop Sergio Leon to load the bases. Philip Clark, who stayed in the game after pinch-hitting for catcher Luke Lowery in the sixth, bunted toward the left side of the infield.

Blair scrambled from the mound to field the ball and threw desperately to home to try to get Houchins, but his throw was wild. Houchins scored and McDonald raced in from second to put the Pirates ahead 3-2.

That ended the day for Blair, who finished with five strikeouts.

“He was amazing,” Waggoner said of Blair despite the pedestrian numbers. “All the way from the start to the (end), he really pitched. That’s been Aaron. His pitchability is off the charts. He competed and you know what you’re going to get every time (he goes) out there.”

ECU starter David Lucroy was impressive, striking out 11 and holding Marshall to three hits over 5 2/3 innings in the no-decision.

The first three runs of the game were scored on wild pitches. The Herd went ahead 1-0 in the fifth when pinch-runner Robert Fajardo scored after a Lucroy pitch got away from Lowery.

Waggoner thought the biggest moment of the game helped set up that first run.

Brito worked a full-count walk to lead off and was lifted for Fajardo, who stole second and went to third on a single by Aaron Bossi. He then came around on the wild pitch.

“The senior stepped up and had a great (at-bat),” Waggoner said of Brito. “We were able to pinch-run and execute a run right there.”

The Pirates tied the game in the sixth when Blair threw over catcher Matt Kirkwood’s head, allowing McDonald to score.

Marshall went back on top 2-1 in the bottom half when Ballou came in on Lucroy’s third wild pitch of the game.

Mabry hit Stafford and walked Ballou to start the bottom of the eighth before being replaced by Reynolds, who leads the league with 12 saves. Reynolds was able to force Stafford at third on a fielder’s choice by Gomez, but sophomore Eric Escobedo’s long single to left scored Ballou with the tying run.

After Chase Vogelbach struck out, Bossi reached on a throwing error by Bryan Bass and Gomez scored to make it 4-3.

“We shot ourselves in the foot, and not with the error,” ECU coach Billy Godwin said. “Even before that, when you hit a guy and walk a guy late in the game, that’s going to come back to haunt you. I thought that was the difference. They competed well. We just didn’t win.”

Ryan Hopkins (3-3), who replaced Blair, tossed a perfect ninth and got the win.

Reynolds singled in the first to extend his hit streak to 14 games for ECU.

The rubber game of the series is set for 1 p.m. today. Marshall’s Michael Taylor will start for the Herd against Ryan Williams for the Pirates, who will be looking to win their fifth straight series.

— E-mail: gfauber

@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814 Sisler Diamond Classic continues today

    Fayetteville pitcher Kaitlyn Sisler pitched five innings of shutout softball as the Pirates beat Oak Hill 10-0 Wednesday in the Diamond Classic in Fayetteville.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014

  • Turnbull’s tenure dominates WVU wrestling history

    Did Oliver Luck really do a thorough job in deeply evaluating Craig Turnbull’s 36-year career as wrestling coach before firing him?

    April 17, 2014

  • WVU’s top football prospects working out for NFL teams

    As we draw ever closer to the NFL Draft, the prospect workouts for teams are picking up steam for former Mountaineers. Both running back Charles Sims and defensive end Will Clarke have a busy road ahead.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041814 james monroe Crusaders make history in loss to James Monroe

    The first season for Greater Beckley Christian’s baseball team has been met with growing pains — to say the least.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041714 millard Kickoff time set for WVU-Alabama

    West Virginia football fans can now start counting down to the exact minute, instead of just the day.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo