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Marshall Throttles Past NKU in Four-Game Series Sweep

Alex Thackston pitched three scoreless innings Sunday

March 10, 2013

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HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – A nail-biting finish in Sunday’s nightcap concluded a successful weekend for Marshall baseball as the Thundering Herd completed a four-game series sweep of Northern Kentucky at Bill Aker Baseball Complex. 

The Sunday doubleheader saw Marshall win by scores of 9-0 and 2-1 and take its fourth straight to improve back to .500 at 7-7.  NKU (2-12) lost for the sixth straight time. 

In game one, Gray Stafford doubled and scored in the second inning, and the Thundering Herd never looked back, scoring four times in the fourth, twice in the sixth, and once in the seventh and ninth innings. 

Stafford doubled twice and scored three times as part of a 3-for-4 outing, his fourth three-hit game of the season and second of the series.  Freshman Chase Vogelbach (3-for-5) also tallied three hits, the second time in his young career. 

Marshall starting pitcher Aaron Blair (2-1) earned the winning decision, scattering three hits and two walks over 7.0 innings.  Blair struck out five in his longest outing of the season. 

Senior Terrence Moore, who combined with Blair for the team’s third shutout of the year, entered in a relief role in the eighth.  Moore allowed only one hit and one walk and did not permit any runners past first in the final 2.0 innings. 

NKU’s Hunter Morey and Quint Heady had two hits apiece in the losing effort.  Starting pitcher Blake Bagshaw (0-3) suffered the loss. 

In game two, Marshall picked up where it left off early on, but its offense stalled after three innings.  Isaac Ballou, who was hit by a pitch in the opening at-bat, came around to score the game’s opening run on an Eric Escobedo two-out single.  Ballou worked his way into scoring position after taking second on his second stolen base of the season. 

In the bottom half of the first, NKU knotted the game back at 1-1 when a two-out single from Cody Kuzniczci plated Quint Heady who had reached on an error.  The (unearned) run was the only one surrendered by Marshall starter Michael Taylor as the freshman lasted 5.0 innings, giving up four hits and two walks while striking out three. 

Taylor (1-1) was the winning pitcher as Marshall took back the lead in the top of the third on a Nathan Gomez sacrifice fly that scored Sergio Leon

From there, the score would remain 2-1 until sophomore reliever Matt Margaritonda ultimately closed the door on the Norse in the ninth, collecting his third save of the season. 

NKU starter Brett Cisper (0-2) suffered the loss despite throwing a complete game.  The junior, who moonlights as an infielder for the Norse, allowed six hits and two walks while striking out 10 Marshall hitters. 

Marshall’s pitching staff was just as brilliant, allowing only one runner past first base over the final six innings.  That base runner came in the seventh when Conor Ledger singled off Herd freshman Alex Thackston to lead off the inning then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. 

Thackston used a strikeout and a fly out to escape the seventh inning then induced a double play ball to work around a one-out single in the eighth.  In all, Thackston threw 3.0 innings and conceded two hits, no runs, and no walks while punching out two. 

Margaritonda, too, allowed a one-out hit and escaped damage, ending the game on a double play. 

Andrew Dundon (2-for-4) notched two hits in game two of the doubleheader.  The sophomore remains Marshall’s hitting leader at .370. 

Stafford led the Herd on the day, going 4-for-8 with two doubles and three runs.  Kirkwood was also .500 in the doubleheader with a 3-for-6 effort. 

Marshall will be in Beckley, W.Va. next weekend for a four-game series against Central Michigan.