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Five-Run Seventh Propels Herd to 6-1 Victory Over Ohio

Alfredo Brito

March 20, 2012

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ATHENS, Ohio -- The Marshall baseball team produced five runs in the seventh inning to overcome a one-run deficit and defeat the Ohio Bobcats 6-1 Tuesday at Bob Wren Stadium. 

Further, the Marshall pitching staff combined for a three-hit stoppage of the red-hot Bobcats, limiting the home team to just one run and snapping its three-game winning streak.

Marshall's seventh included just one hit, but the Thundering Herd plated five runs via two Ohio errors, three walks, and a hit batsman.  The Bobcats cycled through three pitchers in that inning alone as Marshall batted around the order and scored all of its runs with two outs.

The first two outs resulted from an unconventional double play that saw a would-be game-tying sacrifice fly from Thor Meeks turn into a 9-2 double play as Tripp Faulk was thrown out tagging from third.  The Herd's spirits did not seem to dwindle, however, as the next five batters reached base, and Gray Stafford, Isaac Ballou, Nathan Gomez, and Alfredo Brito all drove in runs.  Brito's two-RBI single with the score 3-1 was the only hit recorded in the inning. 

The Bobcats pitching staff provided the Herd with a bases-loaded walk or hit batter in three straight at-bats.

Marshall starter Lance Elder pitched four innings and allowed an earned run on two hits while striking out four.  It was the first career start for the freshman and his longest outing of the season.

Ryan Hopkins relieved Elder in the fifth and allowed one hit in a single inning of work.  From there, the Herd staff allowed only two more base runners and no hits.  Matt Margaritonda, who pitched a perfect sixth, picked up the win and improved to 1-1 this season. 

Joe Church, Josh King, and Jesse Fernandez also worked out of the pen, closing out the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, respectively.  Each picked up one K.

The Herd added insurance in the ninth when Gomez batted in Stafford with a single up the middle.  Stafford reached second in that inning on a base hit and stolen base.

Ohio's run came in the fourth inning and resulted from a lead-off walk issued by Elder.  Jake Madsen doubled Seth Streich - the walkee - over to third two batters after the walk, and Streich's pinch runner scored on an RBI groundout from Kyle Dean in the next at-bat. 

The Bobcats clung to that 1-0 lead through the fifth and sixth as Marshall put multiple runners on base in each of those frames. 

Brito's base hit in the seventh extended his current hit-streak to eight games, while Stafford's single in the ninth saved his now seven-game streak.

Friday will mark the first Conference USA game for Marshall and its opponent, UAB.  The three-game series will be played at Young Memorial Field in Birmingham, Ala.  The Herd lost the series last year 2-1, falling in the third and deciding game 2-1 in 14 exciting innings.