The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 14, 2014

Marshall begins 2014 season today in North Carolina

From Staff Reports

— Marshall’s baseball season begins today in Winston-Salem, N.C. in the Wake Forest Tournament.

The home team is digging out from a rare snow storm, but the games are still scheduled to be played at Gene Hooks Field.

The Herd’s first game will be today against Georgetown, a team that finished 25-28 last year but returns 18 players from a squad that went 5-19 in the Big East. The Hoyas are led by Nick Collins, who led the team with a .333 batting average as the catcher and designated hitter last season. Jack Vander Linden will get the start in the opening game after going 3-5 with a 4.13 ERA last season.

On Sunday, Marshall will take on Towson out of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Tigers, picked fourth in the league’s preseason pollare led by senior designated hitter Kurt Wertz and senior outfielder Dominic Fratantuono. Wertz hit .338 with 65 RBI, while Fratantuono hit .343 with 53 RBIs. Bick Cioffi will start against the Herd. He went 1-1 with a 4.87 ERA last year.

Marshall will end the tournament with a doubleheader against Wake Forest on Monday. The Demon Deacons were 28-27 last year and return senior Evan Stephens, who hit .358 as a junior. John McLeod, who sat out last year with an injury, will start the first game for Wake Forest, while Matt Pirro, who as 3-6 with a 5.52 ERA will start the second game.

The Herd, coming off a 20-34 2013 campaign, has just two seniors on this year’s roster — pitchers Ryan Hopkins and Josh King. King is expected to start today after going 1-3 with a 3.82 ERA last year.

Marshall will have 13 newcomers this year, including three junior college transfers, Clemson transfer Matt Reed and West Virginia transfer Caleb Ross.

Marshall will play its first home game on March 11 against Morehead State. The Herd will host a three-game Conference USA series at Linda K. Epling Stadium in Beckley April 4-6.