March 10, 2013
Game One Box Score (PDF) | Game Two Box Score (PDF)
FLORENCE, Ky. -- Underneath a cloudless and starry Saturday night sky, the Thundering Herd baseball team took a doubleheader sweep of Northern Kentucky with scores of 7-1 and 6-3 at UC Medical Center Stadium.
Marshall (5-7) completed a doubleheader sweep for the second time this season while NKU (2-10) lost its fourth straight.
In game one, Chase Boster (1-1) kept NKU off balance for 6.0 solid innings, allowing just two hits and one (earned) run. After the Norse tagged him with two hits in the first, Boster went on to retire eight straight to get him through the third.
In the fourth, NKU scratched across its lone run of the contest thanks to a pair of walks issued by Boster that inning, but Boster would go on to retire another eight straight before exiting the game after the sixth.
Marshall took the lead in the top of the third as Isaac Ballou singled on a sharp liner up the middle, was bunted to second by Andrew Dundon, stole third, and was driven in by Eric Escobedo on a ground ball to third.
Marshall added another two runs in the fourth when Ballou sent a bases-loaded, two-out, 3-2 pitch to center field to score Chase Vogelbach and Sergio Leon.
Marshall, which put runners on base in every inning of game one, added runs in four of the remaining five frames.
Out of the pen, Kolin Stanley and Kyle Kessler were perfect in the seventh and ninth, respectively, while a two-out single was senior Matt Hummel’s only blemish in the eighth.
Marshall amassed 14 hits in the victory and held NKU to three hits, none of which came in its run-scoring fourth.
In game two, Marshall quickly jumped into the lead after back-to-back doubles from Dundon and Nathan Gomez in the first inning. Gomez would deliver again two innings later to extend Marshall’s lead to 3-0 when he sent a bases-loaded single to the opposite field.
The Norse clawed back with runs in the third and fourth, then threatened to tie the game in the fifth when left fielder Brett Cisper worked his way to third with two out. Ryan Hopkins, who was brought in to relieve Marshall starter Wayland Moore, was able to end the inning on a ground ball to Gray Stafford. Stafford went to his knees to make what was one of several outstanding stops on the day.
The score sat at 3-2 in favor of the Herd for the next inning and a half until Aaron Bossi took a bases-loaded plunking on the left leg to make it 4-2.
Sophomore transfer Mardu Smith followed Bossi’s at-bat with his first hit in an MU uniform, singling on a rope up the middle to score two and make it 6-2.
Those runs proved to be essential as NKU loaded the bases in the seventh (final) inning. An error and a couple of hits brought the tying run to the plate with one out for NKU cleanup hitter Cody Kuzniczci. Kuzniczci, who was robbed by Stafford in his previous at-bat, grounded into a fielder’s choice (scoring one), and Pat Hyde would do the same to end the game.
Hopkins collected his first save of the season as a result. Moore (2-1) took a winning line of 4.2 innings, five hits, two (earned) runs, one walk, and five K’s.
Hopkins went the final 2.1 innings with four hits, one (unearned) run, no walks, and one strikeout.
NKU starting pitcher Matt Jefferson (0-3) took the loss, giving up nine hits and three (earned) runs. Reliever Brett Loeding struck out four but walked one and beaned three.
Gomez finished game two 3-for-3 with three RBIs, a double, and a walk. Leon was 2-for-2 with two runs.
Leon (4-for-5) and Vogelbach (4-for-8) led the Marshall offense with four hits on the day. Gomez was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, a double, and a run. The senior also drew four walks, including three in game one.
Marshall and Northern Kentucky will resume the four-game series Sunday at 12 p.m. at Bill Aker Baseball Complex in Highland Heights, Ky. The day will include another doubleheader to close out the series.