April 21, 2012
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HOUSTON -- Alfredo Brito’s RBI hit in the eighth capped off a two-run comeback for the Marshall baseball team, but Houston’s Chase Jensen knocked in a run on a walk-off single in the ninth to give the Cougars a 3-2 win Friday night/ Saturday morning at Cougar Field.
The loss – which came after both teams were forced to wait out over two hours of rain delays – was Marshall’s fifth straight defeat and put the Thundering Herd at 13-24 (1-9 C-USA). Houston snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 13-22-1 (2-7-1).
In a game that seemed destined for extra innings, Houston strung together three straight singles with one out in the ninth to drive in speedster Landon Appling from second base. Jensen’s hard-hit grounder up the middle missed the outreached arm of Andrew Dundon at second and forced centerfielder Isaac Ballou to make a lengthy throw from center.
Marshall right-hander Josh King (2-2) suffered the loss in a relief effort despite working almost flawlessly through his first three innings. The sophomore allowed two hits and a walk while striking out two before the Cougars attacked him with three hits in the ninth.
King relieved starting pitcher Aaron Blair who went six innings, allowed six hits and a walk while striking out five.
Houston put two runs on the board in the third inning when Jensen doubled in Appling then came around to score on a base hit from Casey Grayson. The Cougars held that lead through five full innings until Marshall cut into it in the sixth with an RBI single from Nathan Gomez.
Gomez’s base hit through the right side with two out scored Mikey Jimenez from second.
Two innings later, Brito mirrored that result with a base hit through the left side that plated Ballou and tied the game at 2-2.
Gomez (1-for-2) and Brito (1-for-3) only had a hit apiece but each timed them well, producing runs to mount a late comeback.
Ballou went 1-for-1 with a single in the first followed by two walks and a sacrifice.
Jensen finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Appling was 2-for-4 with two runs. Three other Cougars collected two hits.
Houston reliever Mo Wiley took the win, striking out seven hitters in three innings of work. He allowed just one hit – Brito’s game-tying single in the eighth.
Game two of the series begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.