March 3, 2012
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Gray Stafford came through with an RBI double in the eighth to break a late tie and put the Thundering Herd baseball team into its first lead Saturday afternoon as the team exacted its revenge on Eastern Michigan, winning 6-3.
In a rematch – and almost role-reversed replay – of yesterday’s early game, the Marshall baseball team scored three runs in the eighth to surge ahead of the Eagles and improve to 4-5 this season. Eastern Michigan dropped to 3-7, having lost a nail-biter to Wake Forest Friday night after beating the Herd in a come-back victory of its own.
The Herd’s eighth began when Nathan Gomez singled up the middle and took second on an errant throw from Eagle shortstop Tucker Rubino. Stafford stepped to the plate facing what might have turned into his fourth straight game without a hit. Instead, the junior took the first pitch he saw deep off the wall in left field, scoring Gomez easily.
The Herd added two more runs in that inning via another error from Rubino, this time on a situational play that saw a hard-hit ground ball go through the shortstop’s legs.
Joe Church (1-0) tossed 1.1 innings of perfect relief and picked up his first win of the season.
Wayland Moore came in to relieve Marshall starter Ryan Hopkins in the middle of the fourth. The lefty threw 4.0 sterling innings, which included easing his way out of the runners-on-second-and-third jam he inherited in the fourth. Moore retired the first 10 hitters he faced, allowed one hit, and struck out three which helped keep Marshall in the game despite trailing during the middle innings.
Hopkins threw 3.2 innings, allowed three runs (all earned) on four hits, walked one, and struck out one in his second straight no-decision.
Isaac Ballou provided the game-tying RBI in the seventh on a sacrifice fly that scored Sergio Leon. Marshall’s other runs came on a long ball from Gomez in the fifth. Again on a first pitch, the junior bombed one off the Wake Forest scoreboard, scoring Ballou. It was the second straight game the first baseman put one over the fence.
Leon’s hit in the seventh extended his hitting streak to eight games.
For Eastern Michigan, third baseman Ben Magsig went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBIs, and a run scored. Starting pitcher Brian Valente was tagged with the loss despite striking out six in the 7.0 inning effort.
The Herd will face Wake Forest at 4 p.m. Live chat, Gametracker, and live video will all be available for the contest.