March 23, 2013
RADFORD, Va. -- In the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader at RU Baseball Stadium, Marshall’s baseball team clung to a five-run first and defeated Radford 5-4. The victory was preceded by an 8-3 loss earlier in the afternoon.
Marshall (10-12) saw the would-be winning run reach second in the bottom of the ninth of game two but held on to avoid the series and doubleheader sweep. Radford moved to 12-10 on the season.
The Thundering Herd put the first six men on base to begin game two and built a 4-0 lead before Radford could record the first out. Nathan Gomez doubled in a run in the inning before Eric Escobedo drove in two with a single up the middle.
Starting pitcher Michael Taylor (3-1) threw six quality innings to take his third winning decision in four starts. Taylor struck out four (three looking) and gave up only four hits. The only damage the freshman allowed was a two-run homer to left field in the fourth.
Between the end of the fourth and the end of the ninth, the score remained 5-2 in favor of the Herd until Radford put four of its first five on base via singles. Shortstop Jeff Kemp came to bat with the bases loaded and one out with the score 5-4, but Herd reliever Josh King induced a pop-up to Kemp then a groundout by Radford cleanup hitter Ryan Burgess to end the game.
Burgess had gone 4-for-4 in game one.
King collected his second save of the season despite giving up two (earned) runs on four hits and a walk in his single inning of work.
Marshall had chances to extend its lead in the seventh and eighth. In the seventh, Isaac Ballou and Andrew Dundon had back-to-back singles with one out, but a strike-‘em-out, throw-‘em-out would end the inning. In the eighth, Gray Stafford led off with a single and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Escobedo, but the senior third baseman would be left at third.
Radford had opportunities outside of the ninth but was shut down by Herd middle reliever Ryan Hopkins
. In the seventh, the redshirt junior was brought in with runners on first and second after Taylor walked one and hit one to lead the inning off. Hopkins took the Herd out of danger that inning with two flyouts and a strikeout.
In the eighth, Radford put two on with the help of a Herd error, but Sergio Leon’s diving catch at short and another Hopkins K got Marshall out of the inning. In two innings, Hopkins kept Radford scoreless and without any hits or walks while striking out two.
Dundon (3-for-5) and Gomez (3-for-4) accounted for half of the Herd’s 12 hits in game two. Ballou was 2-for-4 with a walk and a run. Escobedo was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run.
In game one, Radford got on the board early and never looked back, plating three runs in the second, one in the fifth, and two in the sixth and seventh. Marshall scored three runs in the ninth but did so facing an 8-0 deficit.
Marshall had the bases loaded with a chance to take the lead in the second but grounded into a double play to end the inning. In the fourth and sixth, the Herd got its leadoff man on but could not find a way to bring him around.
Gomez, who was the one to lead off each of those innings, finished the game 2-for-4 with a walk. Ballou went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a walk.
Marshall starter Alex Thackston, in his third start of the season, went two innings and gave up three (earned) runs on five hits and a walk. His punchout of Radford centerfielder Chris Coia was his only K.
Fellow freshman Brandyn Sittinger threw 3.2 innings out of the pen, allowing only three hits but three (earned) runs with two walks and two strikeouts.
Radford designated hitter Ryan Burgess went 4-for-4 with four singles and two runs to lead the Highlanders in game one. On the mound, starting pitcher Michael Boyle and reliever Jeff Maxwell combined to keep Marshall scoreless on five hits through the first eight innings.
In the ninth, Marshall scored three times, beginning with a Johnathan Beary double to left-center with one out. A pair of walks later, Dundon grounded out to score one, and Gomez provided a two-out single to score another.
In all, Marshall had three runs on seven hits. Radford scored its eight runs on 12 hits.
Marshall will return to the diamond Tuesday for a meeting on the road with No. 8 Kentucky before returning home for its conference opener against UAB next weekend.