March 29, 2006
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall baseball team used back-to-back four-run innings to rally and post an 8-6 victory over No. 25 James Madison Wednesday in the completion of a suspended game at University Heights Field. The teams played four innings Tuesday before rain halted play until Wednesday morning. The game is the first of a doubleheader.
The win marked Marshall's first over a ranked team since Feb. 22, 1995, ironically also against James Madison. The Thundering Herd won, 9-6, in Harrisonburg, Va., over the then-No. 19 Dukes.
Tommy Johnson (So., Gaithersburg, Md.) made his first appearance of the season after missing over a month with an injury and was solid, as he hit a three-run home run and drove in four runs. Brendan Murphy (Jr., Chattanooga, Tenn.) went 3-for-5 with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored.
Chris Koutsavlis (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) earned the win after tossing 1.2 innings of relief. Koutsavlis (4-2) allowed four hits and three earned runs while walking three and striking out one. Nick Wolle (Jr., Coatesville, Pa.) picked up his first career save, going 3.1 innings while allowing two hits and striking out five. Kurt Houck (0-1) took the defeat for JMU, allowing four runs (three earned), two hits and two walks over two-thirds of an inning.
James Madison jumped out to a 3-0 lead Tuesday. The Dukes posted a run in the first on a Moses RBI single. They then tacked on two in the third when Sluder hit a run-scoring double. He advanced to third on the throw to the plate and scampered home when Johnson's throw to third sailed into left field.
Marshall rallied with four runs in the fourth inning. With one out, Murphy drilled his team-leading seventh home run of the season. After a strikeout, Aaron Levinson (Sr., Seattle, Wash.) was hit by a pitch and Brit Vincent (Jr., Bowling Green, Ky.) walked. Johnson followed with his first hit of the 2006 season, a three-run opposite-field blast to right field, which gave Marshall a 4-3 lead. Shortly after, the game was halted because of the steady rains.
When play resumed Wednesday, the Dukes wasted no time regaining the lead. JMU loaded the bases with no outs, then scored on a Mitchell Moses sacrifice fly and a Nate Schill single to right.
Marshall responded with a four-spot in the bottom of the fifth, with all the runs scoring with two outs. With one out, Adam Frederick (Sr., Franklin, Pa.) walked and then scored on an RBI double by Murphy. Roddy Stieger (Sr., West Chester, Ohio) followed with a single and an errant throw to first allowed Murphy to score. Levinson and Vincent were then hit by pitches to load the bases and Johnson followed with a walk to force in a run. Brent Mason (Sr., Sherwood, Ark.) was then hit by a pitch to bring in another run and give the Herd an 8-5 lead.
James Madison scored a run in the sixth, but Wolle came in to shut the door and held the Dukes' potent offense scoreless over the final 3.1 innings.