March 29, 2006
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall baseball team rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to upend No. 25 James Madison, 9-8, Wednesday, sweeping a doubleheader with the Dukes at University Heights Field.
Marshall (10-11) trailed 8-7 heading into the bottom of the ninth after the Dukes broke a 7-all tie in the top of the ninth on a Dan Santobianco RBI single. Adam Frederick (Sr., Franklin, Pa.) led off with a bunt single and moved up after a walk to Rich Russell (Sr., Toronto, Ontario). Brendan Murphy (Jr., Chattanooga, Tenn) followed with an RBI single to score Frederick and advance pinch runner Matt Helm (So., Downingtown, Pa.) to third. After a strikeout, Aaron Levinson (Sr., Seattle, Wash.) loaded the bases with a walk and an out later, Tommy Johnson (So., Gaithersburg, Md.) coaxed a walk to push home Helm with the winning run.
Johnson and Roddy Stieger (Sr., West Chester, Ohio) each had three hits for the Herd. Kellen Kulbacki hit two homers and had four RBI for the Dukes. Brian Knippelmeyer (Sr., Lincoln, Neb.) earned his first win of the year after pitching the final 1.2 innings. Geoff Degener (0-1) took the loss for JMU.
James Madison (19-7) grabbed an early 4-0 lead in the first inning. Davis Stonebrenner led off with a triple down the right field line and he scored on a single by Kulbacki. After back-to-back outs, Nate Schill singled to score Kulbacki and Lee Bujakowski walked. Santobianco followed with a two-run double to give JMU a 4-0 lead.
The Herd scored a run in the bottom of the first on a Frederick solo home run, but the Dukes came right back in the second with a two-run homer from Kulbacki.
Marshall started chipping away at the lead in the second inning on an RBI single from Brit Vincent (Jr., Bowling Green, Ky.) and Bobby Lasko wild pitch, which scored Vincent. In the third, the Herd scored on a solo home run by Stieger, his fourth blast of the year.
Marshall added another run in the fourth on an RBI triple by Jimmy Mathias (Jr., Stephens City, Va.), which scored Johnson and helped the Herd close the lead to 6-5.
The Herd took the lead in the fifth inning on a two-run home run to left field by Levinson, scoring Stieger, who had doubled.
JMU wasted no time in tying the contest, as Kulbacki launched his second homer of the contest, a solo shot that cleared the scoreboard in right-center field.
Marshall plays its first Conference USA home games this weekend, beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, as the Thundering Herd plays host to UCF at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston. Tickets for all Conference USA games are on sale now by calling 1-800-THE-HERD or logging on to www.herdzone.com.