April 12, 2017
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Tyler Ratliff and Andrew Zban each homered Wednesday as the Marshall baseball team earned a 12-9 win over longtime rival Ohio at the Kennedy Center Field.
The Thundering Herd improves to 17-15 overall and has won four consecutive games. Freshman relief pitcher Hunter Sexton (4-1) picked up the win in his 15th appearance. The Bobcats fall to 16-16 overall. Relief pitcher Matt Mikolajczak (0-1) suffered the setback.
Wednesday’s meeting marked the 162nd game in Marshall-Ohio series, most played series in Herd history.
Ohio showed off its power in the first three innings to give itself a four-run lead. Spencer Ibarra led off the first inning with a solo home run to right field. The Bobcats added three runs in the third inning with a solo homer from Rudy Rott and a two-run homer by Ty Black.
Marshall responded quickly in the bottom half of the third inning with four runs of its own. Reynaldo Pastrana hit an infield single to the shortstop with the bases loaded to score Ratliff. In the next at-bat, Matt Harrison reached on a throwing error by the Ohio third baseman that allowed Pastrana, Tommy Lane and Sam Finfer to score.
The Thundering Herd scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead. Shane Hanon hit a single through the left side to score Ratliff from second. Later in the inning, Pastrana collected his second RBI of the game with another infield single to score Finfer from third.
The scoring continued in the fifth inning for the Herd. Marshall loaded the bases after a Tucker Linder single, a Leo Valenti Walk and a Will Ray hit by pitch. Ratliff drove in Linder on a fielder’s choice, as Ray was out on the play at second.
Ohio got a run back in the top of the sixth to put the game at 7-5. Tyler Finkler hit a double down the left field line. Finkler came around to score on an Ibarra double down the right field line in the ensuing at-bat.
It was Marshall’s turn to show off its power in the bottom of the sixth, as the Herd gave itself breathing room with five runs off two homers. Ohio earned two quick outs, but a throwing error on the pitcher kept the inning alive for MU. Zban hit a two-run blast to right field. After Valenti singled and Ray was hit by a pitch, Ratliff cranked a three-run homer to left field.
The Bobcats attempted a late rally in the top of the eighth by scoring four runs, making the score 12-9, but the Herd lead was insurmountable.
Eight Marshall batters combined for 13 hits, including a double and two home runs. Hanon had a team-high three hits in the contest. The Gig Harbor, Wash., native improved his hit streak to 16 and reached base safely streak to 19 games, longest streaks for the Herd this season. Finfer, Ray, Pastrana and Zban each had a pair of hits. Ratliff had a team-high four RBIs and three runs scored.
Eight pitchers made an appearance on the mound for the Thundering Herd. Starting pitcher Mark Meyer tossed two innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He had one strikeout. Coming in relief was Hunter Sexton, Jacob Bradley, Matt Reed, Michael Gizzi, Zac McNeel, Parker Beine and Will Ray. Sexton led the relievers with two innings pitched and three strikeouts.
Marshall travels to the Sunshine State to take on the Florida Atlantic Owls in a Conference USA three-game weekend series, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. The series continues on Saturday at 4 p.m. and concludes on Sunday at Noon.