Ratliff's Walk-Off Homer Lifts @HerdBaseball Over Morehead State
Marshall's first walk-off win of the season
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Junior third baseman Tyler Ratliff blasted a solo walk-off home run to left field in the ninth inning, lifting the Marshall baseball team to a 4-3 win over the Morehead State Eagles on Tuesday at Kennedy Center Field.
The Thundering Herd improves to 16-15 overall and has won four of its last five games. Freshman relief pitcher Hunter Sexton (3-1) earned the win for the Herd, while starting pitcher Brad O’Connor claims the no decision. The Eagles fall to 22-11 overall. Morehead State’s relief pitcher Alex Garbrick (3-1) collected his first loss of the season.
Marshall put pressure on Morehead State out of the gates by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Sam Finfer had a two-out single to left field to get things started for the Herd. Shane Hanon followed with a bunt single that forced a quick throw to first, which sailed over the jumping MSU first baseman. The throwing error on the pitcher advanced Hanon to second and allowed Finfer to come around and score. Tommy Lane kept the inning going with a double to center field that scored Hanon.
Morehead State responded in the top of the third with a pair of runs. The Eagles had back-to-back singles to open the frame that put runners on the corners. Left fielder Niko Hulsizer capitalized on the runner in scoring position by hitting a single through the left side, scoring Brody Shoupe. Later in the inning with runners on the corners and two outs, Morehead State pulled off a double steal as Braxton Morris scored.
The Eagles took the lead in the top of the sixth. The Herd pitcher, O’Connor, earned two outs but worked himself into trouble by loading the bases from two walks and a hit batter. With the bases loaded, O’Connor walked Shoupe, allowing center fielder Michael Patrick to score from third.
The lead didn’t last long for Morehead State, as Marshall tied the game in the seventh. Sophomore outfielder Andrew Zban led off the inning with a deep double to center field. Zban moved over third on a sacrifice bunt by Cory Garrastazu. Leo Valenti drove in Zban with a single to right field that knotted the game at three.
Ratliff was the hero in the ninth for the Thundering Herd. The Alexandria, Va., native hit a two-out solo home run that easily cleared the wall in left field. It was the Ratliff’s seventh home run of the season and his team-high 30th RBI of the season.
Marshall finished with 10 hits, including three extra-base hits. Hanon had his ninth multi-hit game of the season by going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Ratliff was 2-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI.
On the mound, O’Connor pitched a career-high eight innings with four strikeouts. The Springfield, Ore., native allowed three runs on seven hits. Sexton made his 14th appearance in relief and tossed one shutout inning.
Marshall welcomes the Ohio Bobcats to the Kennedy Center Field on Wednesday at 3 p.m. It will be the 162nd meeting between the teams.