Feb. 22, 2009
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Marshall University freshman first baseman Alfredo Brito blasted an RBI single in the top of the 10th to break a 5-5 tie, but Wake Forest scored two runs in the bottom of the 10th to help lift the Demon Deacons to a thrilling 7-6 victory in Sunday afternoon's baseball game at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Stadium.
With the loss Marshall falls to 2-2 on the season, while Wake Forest wins the tournament and improves to 4-0 overall.
To begin the 10th inning, Demon Deacons' reliever Phil Negus entered in relief of Zach White who pitched 3.2 stellar innings of shutout baseball, giving up just one hit while striking out six batters.
Marshall freshman catcher Thor Meeks led off the Herd 10th with a bloop-single to right field, before redshirt sophomore Ramone Tate came in to pinch run and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Brito then delivered an RBI single into left center, sending Tate home with the go ahead run, making the score 6-5. With two outs, sophomore right fielder Ben Jurevicius dropped a single into left centerfield, and proceeded to steal second before Negus delivered an inning-ending strikeout.
In the bottom of the 10th, Wake Forest's Tyler Smith earned a leadoff walk and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Semeniuk giving the Demon Deacons a runner in scoring position with one down. Dustin Hood then knotted the game once more when he ripped an infield single which allowed Smith to bring home the tying run. Hood advanced to second on the throw and then moved to third on a groundout. Mike Murray then reached on an infield error allowing Hood to score the winning run, 7-6.
Negus earned the victory, his first of the season after allowing one run on three hits in an inning of relief work. Junior reliever Austin Coan suffered the loss. The transfer pitched 2.2 innings of relief, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits, while firing three strikeouts.
Marshall struck quickly in the top of the first-inning when senior left fielder Brandon Casamassima sent a Michael Dimock pitch over the fence in straight away right field giving the Herd an early 1-0 lead. With two outs in the inning, Gomez followed suit by blasting a solo shot to right field, extending the lead to 2-0. The homers were the first for both players on the season. Dimock was able to get out of the inning thanks to a fly out to deep center field.
Wake Forest got both runs back in the bottom of the third stanza when Hood laced a double down the right field line to lead off the inning. Hood came around to score when Shane Kroker reached on a two-base outfield fielding error, and then advanced to third on an infield fielding error on the same play. Murray then knocked Kroker in with an RBI groundout, before Marshall starter Dan Straily was able to force two more groundouts to keep the score knotted at 2-2 after three innings.
Marshall threatened to break the deadlock in the top of the fourth when sophomore designated hitter Victor Gomez launched a leadoff double off the left field wall, and then moved to third on groundout to the left side of the infield. Meeks was then hit by a pitch to give the Herd runners on the corners but a strikeout out and a fly out to right center field warning track allowed the Demon Deacons to get out of the inning unscathed.
The Herd broke the tie in the top of the fifth inning when senior shortstop Adam Yeager placed a one-out single into left center field. The speedster then stole second and went to third on an infield throwing error, placing runners on the corners. Senior centerfielder Nate Lape then reached on an infield fielding error, sending Yeager home and Casamassima to second. Gomez then singled to left field to load the bases for junior third baseman Josh Valle who reached on the third error of the frame, allowing Casamassima to score the Herd's fourth run of the game. Dimock then induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to keep the score at 4-2.
Marshall picked up where it left off when freshman first baseman Alfredo Brito reached on a two-base outfield fielding error, moved to third on a sophomore second baseman Kenny Socorro infield single to the left side. A fly out to center chase Dimock from the contest in favor of White. White struck out the first batter he faced and then gave up an RBI single through the left side off the bat of Casamassima, sending Brito to the plate with Marshall's fifth run of the game. White was then able to retire the next batter with his second strikeout of the inning, but the Herd was able to extend its lead to 5-2.
The Demon Deacons wasted little time in responding as Austin Stadler led off the home half of the sixth with a single through the right side off freshman left-hander Greg Williams who replaced Straily to start the sixth inning. Stadler then came around to score on a scorching double down the left field line, narrowing the score to 5-3. Smith reached on a fielder's choice to give Wake Forest runners on first and second before Ryan Semeniuk moved the runners up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt. Hood then drew a one-out free-pass to load the bases, chasing Williams from the game in favor of sophomore right-hander Ian Kadish. Lopez and Smith then each crossed the dish on an infield throwing error off of Kroker's fielder's choice, sending the game to a 5-5 stalemate before a 6-4-3 double play ended the inning.
Kadish pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit and was replaced by junior transfer Austin Coan to start the eighth inning.
With the score even at 5-5 in the top of the ninth frame, freshman outfielder Eric Semeniuk, who pinch ran for Lape in the fifth inning, was hit by a pitch with two outs to give Marshall the go ahead run on base, before Gomez earned a walk to put two runners on. A groundout ended the threat and preserved the tie.
With two outs in the home half of the ninth, Wake Forest used a hit batter and a walk to put two runners on against Coan, who entered in the eighth to replace Kadish. Coan then fired a strikeout to send the game to extra innings.
Straily pitched five strong innings on the mound, allowing just two runs (none earned) on five hits. He fanned three batters and walked just two in the no decision.
The Herd offense was led by Gomez, who finished 3-for-4 with a home run (his first of the season), a double and a single. Casamassima also launched his first long ball of the season in the losing effort.
Marshall returns to action next weekend when it travels to Charleston, S.C. for The Citadel Tournament. The Herd will square off against Tennessee Tech, Friday, Feb. 27 at 11 a.m. ET and will take on Radford at 6 p.m. in the nightcap. Saturday's contest will pit Marshall against tournament host The Citadel at 2:30 p.m. before rounding out tournament play, Sunday against Radford at 11 a.m.