March 15, 2008
LEXINGTON, Va. - Marshall University junior right-handed starter Steve Blevins allowed just one run on five hits and used a solid defensive performance to help lift the Herd to a 5-1 victory over VMI in Saturday afternoon's non-conference baseball game at Gray-Minor Stadium.
Marshall extends its winning streak to five games and improves to 7-6 overall, while VMI loses for the eighth time in a row to fall to 4-11 on the season.
Marshall now owns a 44-33 all-time series lead over the Keydets, and will look to make it 45 in the series finale, Sunday.
Leading 4-1 in the ninth, freshman designated hitter Victor Gomez pushed the lead to 5-1 when he tallied his second home run in as many days to extend the Herd lead to four runs.
Freshman right-handed reliever Arik Sikula came on to relieve Blevins, and pitched his second consecutive scoreless ninth inning. The first-year pitcher allowed a pair of hits but hurled a game-ending strikeout to shut the door on the Keydets.
Blevins allowed just one hit and tossed four scoreless innings before surrendering a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Blevins resumed his dominance on the mound and pitched three more scoreless innings.
After three scoreless innings, Marshall struck for three runs in the top of the fourth when junior center fielder Nate Lape, who reached second on an error, and then advanced to third on junior right fielder Kurt Lipton's single, scored on a sacrifice bunt by junior third baseman Brandon Casamassima. Lipton then scored on junior first baseman Josh Valle's single up the middle. Valle then scored from first when Gomez reached second on the second VMI error of the inning. Keydet junior right-handed starter Michael Bowman ended the Herd threat with a strikeout.
The Herd tacked on another run in the top of the fourth when junior shortstop Adam Yeager
reached second on an error and then scored on senior left fielder Jeff Rowley's
RBI bunt single to post a 4-0 lead. Bowman was able to retire the next two batters and escape further damage.
VMI responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth when junior shortstop Adam Yoder led off the inning with a single to right center, advanced to third on freshman first baseman Graham Sullivan's double to center, and then scored on a sacrifice fly to left by sophomore right fielder Brian Sandridge. Blevins was able to force consecutive groundouts to end the inning.
Bowman finished the complete game effort allowing five runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in the loss for the Keydets.
Marshall and VMI will play the series finale Sunday, March 16 at Gray-Minor Stadium. Game-time is set for 1:00 p.m. Herd sophomore right-hander Dan Straily (1-1) will make his fourth start of the season.