April 20, 2013
Box Score (PDF)
ORLANDO, Fla. -- In the first extra-inning game of the season, Marshall’s baseball team defeated UCF 5-4 in Friday’s Conference USA series opener at Jay Bergman Field.
Marshall (14-22, 4-6 C-USA) led 4-0 through six innings but saw its lead vanish when the Knights (20-19, 6-7 C-USA) plated four runs on three hits, two walks, and an error in the seventh. It wasn’t until Matt Kirkwood singled with one out in the 10th, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, then scored on Isaac Ballou’s ground ball to the right side that Marshall was able to shake the fifth-place UCF squad.
Ballou got the scoring going in the top of the first, doubling on the fourth pitch of the game before scoring on a two-out base hit by Nathan Gomez. Ballou’s double extended his streak of reaching base to 28 games while lengthening his hitting streak to 13 games.
In the fourth, another double helped the Herd put up another run as Gray Stafford, who scorched a two-bagger down the left field line to lead off the inning, scored on a sacrifice fly from freshman Chase Vogelbach two batters later.
Two innings later, Kirkwood doubled one down the left field line to score Vogelbach from first, then scored on an Andrew Dundon ground ball.
Marshall hit four doubles in the victory and held the C-USA doubles leader with only one extra base hit, a triple that scored two and tied the game in the seventh.
Marshall starting pitcher Wayland Moore did fine work over five innings but did not receive any decision as the Knights clawed back into a tie after his departure. Moore scattered five hits and two walks with two punchouts in his second start back from a shoulder strain.
Of the seven base runners the senior southpaw allowed, Moore picked two of them off and watched another thrown out by Kirkwood on a stolen base attempt.
Ryan Hopkins (2-2) was the winning pitcher. The right-hander gave up just one hit and two walks over 2.1 innings of work. Hopkins walked the leadoff hitter in the 10th and was relieved by Josh King.
King retired the first batter he faced on a sacrifice bunt which put the tying run in scoring position. Three hitters later, King fanned UCF catcher Ryan Breen to end the game and collect his third save of the season.
Gomez (3-for-5) and Kirkwood (3-for-4) paced Marshall’s attack with three hits apiece. Kirkwood scored twice and drove in one. Stafford was 2-for-5.
For UCF, catcher Chris Taladay was 2-for-3 and extended his own hitting streak to 17 games. Relief pitcher Zac Favre (2-1) suffered the loss.
Game two of the series is set to begin Saturday at 4 p.m. The series finale will follow on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.