Zban, Valenti Powers @HerdBaseball to Series Win at UAB
Andrew Zban was 2-for-3 with a two-run home run
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Marshall baseball team clinched the series over the UAB Blazers on Sunday by winning the rubber game, 5-2, at Young Memorial Field.
The Thundering Herd improves to 15-15 (6-6 Conference USA) with the victory. Junior relief pitcher Jacob Niggemeyer (1-1) earned his first win for the Green and White. Redshirt junior Matt Reed earned his third save of the season and his second of the weekend. The Blazers fall to 16-16 (5-7 C-USA). UAB starting pitcher Ryan Ruggles (2-4) collected the loss.
The Herd took an early lead in the contest by scoring two runs in the first inning. Will Ray led off with a double to right center and was followed by a Tyler Ratliff walk. Shane Hanon loaded the bases with an infield single with one out. Tommy Lane drove in Ray with a sacrifice fly to deep right field. Reynaldo Pastrana kept the inning alive with a two-out RBI single to left field that scored Ratliff.
UAB got a run back in the third inning. Third baseman Price Visintainer singled up the middle and later moved over to second on a wild pitch. Visintainer came around to score on a Carter Pharis single to right field.
Andrew Zban continued his hot-hitting this weekend in the top of the fourth. Pastrana led off the frame with an infield single to the UAB shortstop. Later in the inning, Zban hit a two-run home run to right field that gave Marshall a 4-1 lead. It was Zban’s second home run of the series and his third of the year.
The Blazers cut their deficit to two runs in the bottom half of the fourth. UAB led off with an Antonio Ralat walk and a Riley McCown single to right field. Visintainer drove in Ralat with a two-out single up the middle.
Marshall added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning. Senior Leo Valenti hit a solo home run to left field, making it 5-2 in favor of the Herd. It was Valenti’s first home run of the season and his eight RBI.
Niggemeyer and Reed shutdown the Blazers in the final three innings, only allowing one hit to clinch the three-run win. Niggemeyer pitched four shutout innings in relief. He allowed one hit and had one strikeout. Reed pitched the final inning and didn’t allow hit.
Starting pitcher Patrick Murphy picked up the no decision. The sophomore tossed four innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He had four strikeouts and three walks. Despite not earning the win, Marshall is now 7-1 in games which Murphy starts on the mound.
Marshall had eight of its nine batters record a hit for the second consecutive game. Ray had his team-high ninth multi-hit game, as he went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Pastrana was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored, while Zban was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Hanon extended his hit streak and reached base safely streaks to 14 and 17 games, respectively.
Marshall hosts two midweek games this upcoming week at the Kennedy Center Field on Route 2 in Huntington, W.Va. The Thundering Herd welcomes Morehead State Tuesday at 3 p.m. and Ohio Wednesday at 3 p.m.