Feb. 15, 2014
HUNTINGTON, W. Va.- On a field surrounded by large snow piles and snow covered bleachers, the Marshall baseball team added a little bit of fire to Gene Hooks Field Saturday, nabbing Opening Day victory by a score of 5-1 over Georgetown.
The Herd fell behind in the bottom of the second after starter Josh King (Troup, Ga.) gave up the first hit of the game to the Hoyas' Steve Anderson. Two walks and an error later, Georgetown plated a run giving them a 1-0 lead.
The Herd's first bit of action came from freshman Corey Bird (Elkview, W. Va.), whose walk in the top of the 3rd gave Marshall its first base runner. Bird then stole second, but was left on base to end the inning.
The next inning, sophomore Aaron Bossi (St. Louis, Mo.) led things off with a walk. A wild pitch brought Bossi to second with junior Andrew Dundon (Lincoln Park. N.J.) coming to the plate. Dundon belted a double into the left field gap, bringing Bossi home to tie the game one all.
Two batters later, junior Eric Escobedo (Troup, Ga.) smacked a ground rule double into right field, allowing Dundon to score and give the Herd a 2-1 lead.
Three innings and two outs into the game, the Herd relieved King with southpaw Alex Thackston (Proctorville, Ohio). King would go 3.2 innings with four strikeouts and five walks on the day, allowing three hits and one run.
Bird led off the fifth, Herd clinging to its one run lead. The center fielder then notched his first collegiate hit, with a single up the middle. Bird was stranded yet again to end the top of the 5th
for the Herd.
Marshall brought in sophomore Chase Boster (Stafford, Va.) to relieve Thackston. Boster would go two innings with two strikeouts and no hits allowed to earn his first win of the season.
As the Herd entered the 7th inning still clinging to its one run lead, Bird provided yet again. A first pitch double down left field gave the freshman his second hit of both the season and his career. Bird would come around to score and add to the Herd lead on a fielder's choice from Bossi.
Redshirt junior Kolin Stanley (Beloit, Ohio) got the call from the bullpen in the bottom of the 7th, striking out three in just 1.1 innings of work.
Bird would increase the energy in the 9th. After a lead off walk by shortstop Sergio Leon (Miami), Bird notched his third hit in as many appearances, another single to left field. The hit moved Leon to third (after taking second on a passed ball) and brought outfielder Cory Garrastazu (Miami) to the plate.
Garrastazu entered the game in the 6th inning and reached on an error in his first collegiate at-bat. In his second AB, the freshman followed suit of Bird, notching an RBI single up the middle when Leon crossed the plate.
Bird would score yet again after a bases loaded hit by pitch to first baseman TJ Diffenderfer (Mount Juliet, Tenn.), giving the Herd insurance with a 5-1 lead.
Lefty Sam Hunter (Ashland, Ky.) entered the game in the 9th. The sophomore would catch two Hoyas looking to seal the victory for Marshall.
Bird spoke proudly of Saturday's outcome.
"Today was awesome," Bird said of the whole event. "It felt great to be on a baseball field again. I was more focused on doing what I could to help the team win and doing what I was supposed to do. Josh [King] threw a good game and our bullpen was great."
Dundon would go 2-4 on the day, with a run and RBI.
Marshall will return to Gene Hooks Field Sunday when the Herd takes on Towson. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.