Feb. 25, 2017
Box Score (PDF)
CULLOWHEE, N.C. – The Marshall baseball team (1-5) dropped a 20-15 slugfest on Saturday at the Western Carolina Catamounts (4-2) at Hennon Stadium in Cullowhee, N.C.
Marshall started off the game strong with two home runs in the first two innings. Junior Will Ray led off with home run to right field in the first inning. It was the first home run of the season for the Thundering Herd. Sophomore Andrew Zban followed in the second, to make it 3-0, with a two-run homer to right center field. It was Ray’s and Zban’s first career home runs as members of the Herd.
The lead didn’t last long though for Marshall, as its second inning woes continued. The Catamounts were able to push five across the plate. WCU had a solo home run and two two-run doubles.
Western Carolina continued the five-run inning trend in the third inning. The Catamounts scored off two singles, one double, a sacrifice fly and a Marshall wild pitch. After three innings, WCU led 10-3.
The Herd began to mount a comeback in the fourth, as Sam Finfer doubled down the first base line that scored Zban.
Marshall completed the comeback in the fifth by scoring six runs on four hits. Tommy Lane led off the inning with a walk. Cory Garrastazu was able to move him over to third with a one-out double to right center field. Damian Rodriguez drove in Lane as he grounded out to first. Zban picked up his third RBI of the game with a single up the middle that scored Garrastazu. The inning continued when Leo Valenti tripled off the left center field wall and scored Zban. After WCU made a pitching change, Valenti scored on a wild pitch. Ray earned one of his three walks on the day to extend the inning. Finfer finished off the comeback for the Herd with a two-run homer to right center field.
Western Carolina broke the tie in the bottom half of the fifth with a Brett Pope two-run homer. The Catamounts went on to push its lead to 14-10 in the sixth inning off of three hits.
Marshall pulled it back within two in the top of the seventh. Finfer singled up the middle that scored Valenti. Ratliff followed with a single up the middle of his own to score Ray.
The Catamounts extended their lead to 20-12 in the eighth inning by scoring six runs on four hits. WCU had a sacrifice fly, a two-run double and a three-run double.
The Herd brought it back within five in the top of the ninth inning. Finer hit a three-run home run to center field. It was his second homer of the game, and his seventh RBI. The Bellevue, Wash., native became the first Marshall player to have seven RBIs in a game since Sergio Leon had six against No. 19 Houston on April 5, 2013. It was the first time a member of the Herd had two home runs in a game since Leo Valenti at WKU on May 14, 2016.
Freshman Jacob Bradley picked up the loss for the Thundering Herd. The Charleston, W.Va., native went two innings in relief and allowed two runs on two hits. Chad Mabini earned the win for the Catamounts.
Finfer led the way at the plate by going 4-for-6 with seven RBIs. Zban was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, while Ray was 3-for-3 with four runs scored and one RBI. Rodriguez and Valenti each had a pair of hits.
Marshall looks to avoid being swept by the Catamounts with the final game of the series being played on Sunday at 1 p.m. Left-handed pitcher Patrick Murphy is scheduled to start for the Thundering Herd.