March 26, 2011
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In almost identical fashion to Friday night’s contest a team trailed by one run and rallied to score two in the ninth to capture a come-from-behind victory. Saturday night the Marshall University baseball team avenged the Friday night loss thanks to a clutch RBI single off the bat of Isaac Ballou and would later score on a wild pitch as the Thundering Herd defeated UAB, 3-2 under the lights at Power Park.
The victory propels the Herd to 9-12 and evens its record to 1-1 in league play, while the loss puts the Blazers at 12-10, 1-1 against conference teams.
UAB starter Ryan Wolley (3-3) was nearly unhittable throughout the entire night as the Herd batters had difficulty in the box against the right-hander. Wolley had allowed only two base runners through the first eight frames, a one-out single in the second to Rhett Stafford and Ballou being plunked to start the fourth.
In the ninth the Herd was finally able to break through against Wolley, who struck out a career-high 12 batters and gave up just three runs (two earned) on two hits. Down 2-1, MU leadoff hitter Victor Ramos started the inning by drawing a one-out walk, and was lifted for speedy pinch-runner Justin Maynard. The pride of Huntington native promptly swiped second base and moved up to third on a wild pitch. Ballou showed his patience at the plate and later rocketed a 3-1 pitch to right to knot the score at two.
The game was far from over as Ballou would take second on a passed ball and move to third on a ground out by Victor Gomez. Reliever Ben Bullard had entered the game for Wolley and intentionally walked lefty cleanup hitter James Lavinskas to face righty R. Stafford. To the misfortune of the Blazers, Bullard uncorked a wild pitch to the backstop allowing Ballou to race home with the walk-off victory.
MU starter Mike Mason worked the first five frames, scattering seven hits and allowing two first-inning runs to score. The southpaw added a six-pack of strikeouts and two walks to his final pitching line.
The two first inning runs was all that the Blazers could manage off Mason and reliever Austin Pratt (1-1). Earning his first win for the Herd, Pratt fired four innings of scoreless relief, giving up just two hits with five punch outs.
Marshall’s lone run came in the fourth when Ballou was hit by a pitch, stole second, reached third on a balk and scored on a sac fly from Lavinskas.
All in all a total of 23 strikeouts were collected during the game, 12 chucked by the Blazers, 11 by Marshall.
Ballou scored twice and knocked in the other on his ninth inning RBI base hit.
UAB received two-hit games from Jamal Austin and Patrick Palmerio to lead the offense.
NEXT UP: MU and UAB play the rubber match of the series on Sunday at Power Park. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.